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CNN Today

Former LAPD Officer Rafael Perez Sentenced to Five Years in Prison

Aired February 25, 2000 - 2:04 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Now to Los Angeles, where a former police officer who lit the fuse on the LAPD's exploding corruption scandal has been punished for his crimes.

CNN's Charles Feldman has details of the sentencing today -- Charles.

CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, five years: That's what Rafael Perez is going to get for his conviction on stealing cocaine from a police evidence locker. But the story of Perez is far deeper and much more interesting and important to the city than that cocaine theft, because it was Rafael Perez, as part of a plea agreement, that led to this five-year sentence now. It was Perez's testimony that has led to the largest scandal in the LAPD in its entire history. He's told about how he and colleagues planted evidence on innocent people, how they shot unarmed civilians and in effect has told about a sinister subculture that is operating within the LAPD.

But in court today, it wasn't a defiant Rafael Perez. It was a Rafael Perez who was expressing remorse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

I cheated on my wife, I cheated on my employer and I cheated on all of you, the people of Los Angeles. It didn't occur to me that I was destroying lives, the lives of those whom we victimized and their families who love them. Whoever chases monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FELDMAN: And let's show you now some of the faces of the people whose lives, by Perez's own admission, he's ruined. First, there's Javier Ovando, who he and his partner allegedly shot and then planted evidence on. Ovando is apparently now paralyzed for life. And then there's Joseph Jones, Joseph Jones who was allegedly selling them narcotics when in fact we now know from Officer Perez he was framed, he wasn't trying to sell them narcotics at all, Jones spending over two-and-a-half years in prison before being released. Some of the lives being touched and ruined by Officer Rafael Perez in a scandal that is increasingly unfolding, a scandal that now involves the involvement of the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys Office. Charles Feldman, CNN, live in Los Angeles.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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