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D.A.'s memo details concerns about L.A. County sheriff's captain

Prosecutors recently declined to file charges against Bernice Abram, saying they could prove nothing illegal in her dealings with a Compton gang member, but an FBI investigation is continuing.

November 22, 2012|By Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times

A few months later, Grim was ticketed again, and he immediately called Abram. She ordered a detective at her station to "look into it," according to the memo, an order he understood to mean that he should get the ticket dismissed.

That month, sheriff's investigators moved in with their sting operation, ensnaring Abram with the phony surveillance plans. She was relieved of duty, along with her niece, Chantell White, a custody assistant at the sheriff's South L.A. station. Investigators discovered that on three occasions, Grim used White to access a law enforcement database to run a friend's name for outstanding warrants, according to the D.A.'s memo.

Last year, federal authorities arrested Grim and several other alleged members of a drug ring suspected of moving marijuana, Xanax pills and pint bottles of codeine with promethazine, also known as "sizzurp" or "purple drank." Grim has pleaded not guilty.

Both Abram and White have repeatedly declined to comment to The Times. In one instance, Abram told a Times reporter before hanging up that she'd never heard of Grim.

Prosecutors gave several reasons for not filing charges against Abram and her niece. It's illegal for police to alert anyone of a warrant before it's served, but only if the purpose of the warning is an attempt to help prevent an arrest or a search. In one of the instances in which Abram warned Grim, he wasn't the subject of the warrant, and she had advised him to make sure his children were inside, an attempt to keep them out of harm's way, prosecutors said.

As for Abram's second tip, when she warned Grim about the phony surveillance operation, prosecutors also concluded no laws had been broken. The D.A.'s office said there is no evidence that Abram was aware of illegal activities by Grim, who prosecutors noted in the memo worked at a trash collection company.

Prosecutors, however, did conclude that Abram broke the law by quashing a ticket for Grim's sister and trying to quash a ticket for Grim. But the one-year statute of limitations for that misdemeanor had expired. The district attorney's office also determined that White may have broken the law by giving Grim information from a law enforcement database, but the statute of limitations on that misdemeanor had also expired.

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