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Special Event

L.A. Police Chief Discusses Sweeping Investigation of Rampart Division

Aired March 1, 2000 - 1:46 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: It's an afternoon of breaking news, Natalie. We're now going to take you live to Parker Center, Los Angeles, where the chief of police is addressing the media about a sweeping internal investigation of the corruption scandal among L.A.P.D. officers. Let's listen.

CHIEF BERNARD C. PARKS, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPT.: He's looking at work product throughout the department. And Chief Bostic (ph), later, will give you an in-depth analysis of that. All of you should have a copy of it with the recommendations that go into well over 100.

There's also a criminal investigation, in which we're moving forward. And the first several months of that criminal investigation has been an intense interviewing of Perez as it relates to the issues that he talks about with himself, which we've identified about 99 suspects that we're illegally arrested. And we have gone forward requesting that those writs be put forth to the court, so either the people can be released from custody or that they can have sanctions that have been placed on them because of these issues removed.

We are in a transition in that investigation in which we announced last week, that the FBI is becoming a part of that, along with the U.S. Attorney, so that we move forward and begin to investigate the issues that involve other officers in which Perez is implicated.

The third part of that investigation is a internal administrative investigation that deal with issues that are non-criminal, but deal with policy and rule violations within the department. And they may uncover minor, criminal behavior.

And so these are the three major parts of what we're addressing. The board of inquiry being the first, in that they should not be merged as it relates to addressing them. What I'd like to do also is remind everyone that as the board of inquiry has moved forward, the issues that we're deemed necessary to be corrected have been corrected as we've gone forward. But we thought it was very important to report the findings in the board, to advise the public as to the issues we've discovered.

So there's a document that you should have been given that identifies the works that are in progress and the things that have already been published to address many of the issues that have been identified in the board.

We also, this morning -- or last night -- briefed the police commission on this, along with the mayor. This morning, we briefed our command officers. They received a copy of the report. This morning also, a copy was delivered to each council office and a number of other governmental agencies that have expressed an interest.

And, as we go forward, in looking at this board of inquiry process, we will begin, almost immediately, assigning tasks as it relates to the entities within the department who are responsible for dealing with these circumstances; beginning to look at the process of coming to a conclusion, or making recommendations.

And so that's been the work that we've done today to ensure that we make as many people as possible aware of these circumstances. And now, we're making a public report. And as Commander Kalish mentioned earlier, it's on the Web site, and soon will be in every library in the city of Los Angeles.

What I'd like to do at this time also, is to commend several people that have had a role in this process. What I'd like to do also is acknowledge that the president of the Los Angeles Protective League has been very instrumental in helping us to go through the board of inquiry process to eliminate unnecessary roadblocks in our ability to address that. And he's here today; we'd like to acknowledge Chad Hunt (ph) for that assistance.

But I'd also like to draw your attention to the last chapter of the book that acknowledges the over 200 to 300 people in the department -- that took the time -- that still work their primary assignment, but also were asked to deal with this issue and did a very comprehensive report, which we've produced today.

But I think the people that made all this happen for the department, and I would like to acknowledge them publicly, is the chair of that board of inquiry, and you'll hear from him soon, would be Chief Michael Bostic (ph). In addition to chairing that board, also ran our valley bureau. Mike, would you stand? His two co- chairs, or people that work with him, Bill Moran (ph), that runs our fiscal and support bureau, and also Chief Moore (ph), who is our special assistant within the department. They worked with several committees that pulled together this report and then they had the task to make sense of those committee reports and then develop the recommendations.

And the committee chairs that are here, I would like to acknowledge them. That when we talk about the personnel work group that did the profile on all of the initial officers involved, and that's Commander Betty Kelepaz (ph). The person that has a very extensive project dealing with the work product, looked at the work product in Rampart citywide, and will continue to work well after this report has been resolved or published is Commander Gary Zindin (ph).

The person that dealt with the supervision and management issues at Rampart specifically is Deputy Chief Carlo Cudio (ph). And the risk management, the area in which we believe is one of the foundations of this report to talk about how this department in the future should deal with risk management issues and evaluate not only individual officer's performance, but the performance of units and divisions and entities within the department, and that would be Commander David Done (ph).

And also in dealing with the operational systems within the department and went through a very exhaustive review of our personnel's awareness of these systems and whether these systems were in place is Deputy Chief Rick Densy (ph). And we had a co-chair on a committee that dealt with our management review and administrative systems in investigations, primarily the non-punitive or the administrative review of such risk managements in pursuits, in traffic accidents and things of that nature, uses of force, and that would have been Commander Scott La Chace (ph) and Commander Willy Panell (ph). And then also -- excuse me -- a complete review of our entire use of force investigative protocol officers while shooting protocol, Commander Jim McMurry (ph).

And then looking at the corruption investigation protocol that will give us some guidance over the future of how to address issues of this nature and be able to have it in archives as a review mechanism is Commander Peggy York (ph). And the systems as far as looking at integrity systems nationwide and trying to learn from those other departments in law enforcement is Deputy Chief Greg Burke (ph).

And then we have a couple of people that spent the -- a great deal of their time doing the review process, trying to make heads or tails of this and we imposed upon them, and that would be Deputy Chief Dave Gaskon (ph), Chief of Staff Deputy Chief Julius Davis (ph), our human resources bureau and Deputy Chief Martin Pomeroy (ph), who is in charge of our headquarters bureau, and then also one of our civilian deputy chiefs, Mr. Roger Hamm (ph), that really put forth a lot of effort on the technology and the ability to draw files out of the system electronically.

And then the person that when we finished, regurgitating all this on the table, that put it into a comprehensive report, and that's Commander Dan Canic (ph). And so, those are the people along with the 300 people in the final chapter that we owe a great deal of gratitude for making this day possible in barely a four-month period of time. What I would like to do is just give you an overview of some issues that we think are relevant, and then bring up Chief Bostic to talk about other circumstances. After we have looked at this process over the last several months, we think this is a very exhaustive investigation of our systems, our management style, our issues that we think may have caused the opportunity for this issue of corruption in Rampart.

And although none of us individually or collectively are proud of many of the things that are in the report, we do have a great deal of pride in those people that took the time and effort to be very candid in putting this report together. We think it's a very thorough report, one that we probably can say has never been done in a public forum such as this, and we also are proud of that issue also.

And again, we can't emphasize enough the clarity between this report to those that are here for the gory details of what Perez said about incidents out in the field, this is not the report that will contain that. That is part of the criminal investigation that we will be dealing with and as prosecutions occur those elements and facts will come out in those circumstances.

WATERS: Los Angeles police chief Bernard Parks briefing reporters on a sweeping self-indictment conducted by the Los Angeles P.D.'s own board of inquiry releasing this 362-page report today acknowledging that the so-called Rampart scandal.

Now, Rampart is the name for the anti-gang police division where the scandal that erupted after one police officer caught stealing cocaine from an evidence room turned on his fellow officers, and a criminal investigation is ongoing concerning 99 suspects who may have been illegally arrested. So far, 20 officers have been removed from duty, 40 convictions have been overturned, more may be on the way.

There is a three-part investigation now, the criminal investigation involving Perez and those 99 suspects I mentioned. The FBI entered the case last week. They are investigating the possibility of charging police officers in this matter based on evidence from Perez. And there is an internal administrative investigation underway, which is a non-criminal investigation to tackle issues such as the management of the police force and issues such as where red flags raised and not acted upon.

One-hundred-and-eight recommendations for reforms in the LAPD in this report, this board of inquiry report that Chief Parks was telling us about. We'll have more on this story, and this story will go on for a long, long time.

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