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Man enters plea in chase

August 15, 2008|Tami Abdollah | Times Staff Writer

A former gang member who was shot and framed by corrupt Los Angeles police officers more than a decade ago pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges related to a high-speed chase.

Javier Ovando, 31, entered his plea in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Glendale to one felony count of evading police and one misdemeanor count of battery of an officer, authorities said.

Ovando allegedly led Glendale police on a chase June 29 that lasted more than an hour and reached speeds of up to 90 mph on local streets and freeways after officers tried to stop him for an illegal U-turn.

He sped away in a 2001 Hummer, running two red lights, police said. The chase ended near the home of one of Ovando's attorneys, where Ovando, who was left paralyzed from the earlier police incident, got out of the Hummer and lay on the ground while officers took his wheelchair out of the vehicle.

Police said Ovando tried to spit on an officer and grabbed an officer's fingers.

Ovando was released the next day on $100,000 bail. He is scheduled to return to court for another hearing Sept. 15, according to the district attorney's office.

The arrest was Ovando's second in a week. A week earlier, he was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats against a couple buying his 6,000-square-foot Topanga Canyon mansion. Ovando reportedly had permitted the couple to move in early but then showed up at the home June 22, swearing and demanding they move out.

Ovando was paralyzed in 1996 after he was shot by former Los Angeles police officers Rafael Perez and Nino Durden. He was convicted and served 2 1/2 years of a 23-year prison sentence after the officers testified he had attacked them.

The conviction was overturned after the two officers emerged as key figures in the Rampart corruption scandal, which involved dozens of cases of police misconduct, including beatings, shootings and false arrests of gang members. Ovando was later awarded a $15-million settlement as the highest-profile victim of the scandal.

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tami.abdollah@latimes.com

Times staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this report.

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