A jury Friday acquitted a Los Angeles police officer and a former officer on charges that they lied about a drunk-driving arrest.
After deliberating only a few hours, jurors found Phillip Walters and Craig Allen not guilty of the perjury charges, said Bill Seki, Allen's attorney. Allen also was cleared on an allegation of filing a false police report.
The case stemmed from a DUI checkpoint in September 2010, where the two officers were working.
The pair were dispatched to assist another officer who had stopped a drunk driving suspect. When they arrived, the officer told them he had seen a woman disregard two stop signs. The officer then departed, leaving Allen and Walters to handle the case, Seki said.
After the woman failed a Breathalyzer test, Allen and Walters arrested her. Later, in filling out the paperwork on the incident, Allen erroneously claimed to have witnessed the failed stops, according to Seki.
Several months later, at a DMV hearing, Walters reviewed Allen's paperwork and then testified that he too recalled seeing the driver, Seki said.
As the woman's case approached trial, her attorney sought a copy of the recording of the radio communications between the officer who stopped the woman and dispatchers. At a court hearing, the attorney confronted the officers with the recording.
Both Allen and Walters testified in their own defense and attributed their errors to being "distracted" and "sloppy," according to Seki.
"They had nothing to hide," Seki said of the men's decision to take the stand. "This was a question of motivation, and these guys stood to gain absolutely nothing by making this arrest."
The woman, whose blood-alcohol level was 0.12%, well above the legal limit of 0.08%, had her drunk-driving case dismissed, Seki said. Allen was fired after an internal investigation, and Walters still faces an internal investigation.