Three Los Angeles police officers were charged Friday (July 10) with falsifying records. The cops claimed that people they stopped were members of gangs or associated with gangs, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Officers Michael Coblentz, Braxton Shaw and Nicolas Martinez were charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and multiple counts of filing a false police report and preparing false evidence.
If convicted, Shaw could face a maximum of up to 31 years and eight months in jail. Martinez faces up to four years and four months in jail and Coblentz could face up to seven years and eight months behind bars.
Last year, the LAPD launched an investigation after a local mother wrote them a letter informing the department that her son had been labeled as a gang member. She reported to a supervisor at a nearby police station that she knew her son was misidentified.
The supervisor reviewed body cam footage and other reports and found that there were many inaccuracies filed by the police officer. Her son was removed from the department’s gang database.
“Public trust is the bedrock of community policing and these allegations shake that foundation,” Chief Michel Moore said in a statement. “The actions of these few tarnish the badge we all wear. The Department is committed to continuing this comprehensive investigation in our effort to restore the confidence of the people we protect and serve.”
Last month, Chief Moore ordered the officers to stop using the law enforcement database of gang intelligence information called “Cal-Gangs.”
“Based on recent audits and ongoing complaint investigations, the accuracy of the database has been called into question,” Moore stated in an internal memo acquired by NBC. “To strengthen community trust and avoid any adverse impact on individuals, particularly in communities of color, the Department has enacted a complete moratorium on the use of the Cal-Gang System,” Moore wrote.
The motive behind the falsifying of police reports remains unclear.