A former Los Angeles police officer serving a 14-year prison sentence for bank robbery was attacked by a group of fellow inmates and suffered a puncture wound to one of his lungs, according to his lawyer.
Ex-LAPD Officer David Mack, who is serving his sentence in a federal prison in Illinois, was attacked about a month ago while he was jogging, said Mack's attorney, Donald M. Re.
Neil Robinson, a spokesman for the federal prison about 50 miles from St. Louis, refused to confirm or deny that the attack had taken place. A spokesman for the FBI, which is charged with investigating crimes committed within the prison's walls, also declined to comment.
Re said the prisoners, at least one of whom was armed with a sharp object, attacked his client after they saw a television program and read magazine and newspaper accounts that detailed Mack's role as a law enforcement officer and his association with corrupt ex-Officer Rafael Perez. Re said the inmates apparently inferred from the reports that Mack and Perez were involved in crimes together, which included victimizing gang members.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday February 8, 2001 Home Edition Metro Part B Page 3 Metro Desk 2 inches; 50 words Type of Material: Correction
Ex-LAPD officer--Because a line was inadvertently dropped from an article in Wednesday's Times, the story omitted information about the case of David Mack, a former LAPD officer in prison for bank robbery. Mack never worked with former Officer Rafael Perez at the LAPD's Rampart Division CRASH unit and has never been charged with mistreating gang members.
Although law enforcement officials long have speculated that the two officers were partners in crime, such allegations have never been proven and have been denied by the attorneys for both men.
As recently as November, federal authorities were investigating the allegations of one of Perez's ex-lovers, who had claimed that Perez and Mack had been involved in drug deals together and had killed three people whose bodies they buried in Tijuana. The woman's allegations were widely reported in the media as authorities tried to verify them. After months of investigation, the woman recanted her story, saying that she fabricated her allegations because her relationship with Perez ended badly.
According to Re, Mack--a onetime college track star--was working out when he was attacked from behind by several inmates. Re said that as Mack defended himself another group of inmates joined in the attack against him.
"He was stabbed pretty severely," the attorney said.
Re said Mack was hospitalized with multiple stab wounds for a couple of days and then sent back to the prison's general population. Re declined to comment on whether his client plans to seek a transfer to another facility or to request different housing within the prison.
Mack, a former friend and partner of Perez, was convicted of robbing a Bank of America of more than $700,000 in 1997. He was a police officer at the time.
Mack and Perez, who previously were partnered as undercover narcotics officers, traveled to Las Vegas together two days after Mack robbed the bank. Nine months later, Perez was arrested for stealing six pounds of cocaine from LAPD evidence facilities.
Perez's first trial on those charges resulted in a hung jury. Faced with a second trial, he entered into a plea bargain in which he agreed to identify allegedly crooked fellow officers in exchange for a five-year sentence on the drug charges. His charges of crimes and misconduct by officers in a division of the LAPD spawned what has become known as the Rampart corruption scandal.
During his interviews with investigators, Perez admitted to a host of misdeeds but denied being involved in any crimes with Mack.