City to appeal $15 million award

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card The Rampart Division scandal has had far-reaching implications for the city – resulting partly in Parks’ replacement as chief as well as a federal consent decree covering the LAPD. Accusations involved the LAPD’s anti-gang unit known as CRASH where officers were accused of beating and shooting suspected gang members and planting evidence on them to win convictions. The city has already paid out $70 million to people who said they were victims of the officers. But most of the attention has focused on former Officer Rafael Perez, who implicated the three officers. Harper eventually was acquitted of all charges. Liddy and Ortiz were convicted on a charge of obstruction of justice that eventually was overturned by the judge who said she had erred in the case. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he was concerned about the ruling and its impact on city finances. The Rampart Division police scandal continued to divide the city Friday as Los Angeles officials called for an immediate appeal of a $15 million federal jury award to three current and former officers in their rights suit against the city. A Santa Ana jury late Thursday awarded $5 million plus $1 each to former LAPD Sgt. Brian Liddy, suspended Sgt. Edward Ortiz and current Officer Paul Harper, who claimed they were victims of false arrest and malicious prosecution by the city as a result of a case that once was touted as the worst scandal in Los Angeles Police Department history. Councilman Bernard Parks, who was police chief when the scandal erupted in the 1990s and who testified at the trial, said he was outraged by the verdict and wants the city to file an immediate appeal. “I heard one juror say they wanted to make Los Angeles pay,” Parks said. “The fact this trial was held in Orange County and a juror would make a statement like that says a lot to me. These are officers who were fired by the department. They should not be painted as scapegoats.” “I want to find out more about why the jury ruled as it did,” Villaraigosa said. Spokesman Joe Ramallo said the financial implications are significant as the mayor prepares next year’s budget already facing a projected shortfall of $245 million. “But $15 million would hire 150 police officers,” Ramallo said. A spokesman for City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo said he would have no comment, referring questions to the mayor’s office. City Administrative Officer Bill Fujioka said the mayor has called a meeting for next week with him and the LAPD to discuss an appeal. “We can’t say much about our legal strategy, other than we expect to file an appeal,” Fujioka said. Councilman Dennis Zine, a former police officer, said he wanted to hear from Delgadillo about the city’s options and whether it had acted improperly in pursuing actions against the officers. “These guys were acquitted before and the city still went after them,” Zine said. “I’m sure they have suffered financially and they were embarrassed by all that happened. I want to see what the City Attorney has to say about all this.” Councilman Jack Weiss, chair of the Public Safety Committee overseeing the LAPD, said he wanted to hear from Delgadillo on the issue. “I want to know if we have grounds to appeal,” said Weiss, a former federal prosecutor. “I can say this: I was dumbfounded by the size of the award in this case. I think all of us were blown out of the water by the size of it.” Officials with the Los Angeles Police Protective League said Friday they would have no comment on the case. Rick Orlov, (213) 978-0390 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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