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LAPD Officers Accused of Entering Names of Innocent People Into Gang Database

Officers from an elite division within the Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) are under investigation regarding allegations that they falsified reports and listed some innocent people as gang members.

LAPD Police Chief Michel Moore announced in January that he was seeking to fire one officer for his role in falsifying the records. “The California Gang Database is a critical tool for law enforcement in its efforts to solve violent crime,” Moore said. “The information entered must be accurate. We are committed to holding anyone who falsified information accountable and will also fully cooperate with the State Attorney General Office.”

In a letter sent on February 10, 2020, to the LAPD, Attorney General Xavier Becerra promised an independent audit of the department’s CalGang entries. “We do not have a full or clear picture of what occurred, but we know enough that we must act,” Becerra said.

While Becerra acknowledged that those wrongly added to the database could be subjected to additional police scrutiny, he defended CalGang as a “good policing tool that keeps the community safe.” Nearly 80,000 persons are listed in the database.

In 2016, a state audit of CalGang revealed racially biased entries, violations of civil liberties, inaccurate entries, including “gang members” younger than one, transparency problems, and failures to follow basic rules. 


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