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"
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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
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