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Official Reports & Reviews on the Rampart Scandal

In the wake of Rafael Perez's allegations of widespread corruption in the Los Angeles Police Department, several studies were commissioned to analyze his charges. The much-criticized L.A.P.D. internal Board of Inquiry report, published in March 2000, blamed individual misconduct and managerial shortcomings within Rampart CRASH for the scandal, and made many recommendations for policy and procedural changes. Two studies were published in response to the L.A.P.D.'s inquiry: an independent analysis of the Board of Inquiry report commissioned by the Police Protective League, and a study undertaken at the behest of the Police Commission. Both concluded a greater need for structural reform within the L.A.P.D., as well as the necessity to strengthen civilian oversight of the department.

"L.A.P.D. Board of Inquiry into the Rampart Area Corruption Incident"
The Rampart Board of Inquiry was convened by L.A.P.D. Chief Bernard Parks on September 21, 1999 and the results of its investigation into the causes of the Rampart scandal were released in March 2000. The report concluded that "the Rampart corruption incident occurred because a few individuals decided to engage in blatant misconduct, and in some cases, criminal behavior." It outlined in detail the history and practices of Rampart CRASH, based on the allegations of Rafael Perez, and cited the inexperience of the unit's officers, their lack of supervision, and their unauthorized use of confidential informants as "troublesome." It made 108 recommendations for changes in L.A.P.D. policies and procedures, including: better screening and training of police officer candidates; more vigorous investigations of personnel complaints made by the community; returning to a smaller ratio of patrol officers per supervisor; and stricter protocols for internal audits. The Board of Inquiry report was widely criticized for not addressing structural problems within the department that may have allowed a corrupt culture to fester in divisions such as Rampart CRASH.

"An Independent Analysis of the Los Angeles Police Department's Board of Inquiry Report on the Rampart Scandal"
Published in September 2000, this analysis was undertaken by Professor Erwin Chemerinsky, a law professor at the University of Southern California, at the request of the Police Protective League. Chemerinsky outlined six specific criticisms of the Board of Inquiry report: that the L.A.P.D. minimized the scope and nature of the corruption; that it failed to recognize the problematic nature of the L.A.P.D.'s internal culture; that it failed to consider the need for structural reforms, including reforming the Police Commission and strengthening the Inspector General's Office; that it minimized problems in the L.A.P.D.'s disciplinary system; that it failed to address problems in how the L.A.P.D. handles excessive force cases, including officer-involved shootings; and that the L.A.P.D.'s report failed to recognize problems throughout Los Angeles County's criminal justice system. Among other recommendations, Chemerinsky called for an independent commission to investigate corruption; a consent decree between the City of Los Angeles and the Justice Department to monitor effective reform; and independent reviews of the justice system to address potentially overzealous prosecutions that overlook discrepancies in an effort to win criminal cases.

Read the executive summary of Chemerinsky's report.

"Report of the Rampart Independent Review Panel"
This report was tasked by the Police Commission to look beyond L.A.P.D. operations and consider the "structural issues" of the department, as well as "examine the broader issues raised by [Perez's] allegations." The panel was made up of over 190 community members and its report, published in November 2000, issued 72 findings and 86 recommendations. It strongly criticized weak civilian oversight of the L.A.P.D., noting that Police Commission had been "undermined by the Mayor's Office" and that the Inspector General's Office had been "hindered by ... lack of cooperation by the [L.A.P.D.] in responding to requests for information." It recommended financially compensating members of the Police Commission and directing more resources towards the Inspector General's Office. Noting "alarmingly low" morale within the department, the report determined that officers "overwhelmingly resent and lack confidence in the Department's disciplinary system ... [which is] undermining effective and ethical law enforcement." It found a "code of silence" permeating the L.A.P.D., and suggested mechanisms be created whereby officers could report misconduct anonymously.

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