As it turns out, the reputation of the police in Los Angeles is one of the worst in the country for a very good reason.
A shirt that had gotten bloodied after a prison brawl had gone missing, but instead of seeing that as an obstacle, Deputy Jose Ovalle saw it as an opportunity to put his creativity to good use, getting a similar shirt and spilling taco sauce on it to replicate the stains.
When he was later questioned about the dishonest move, he admitted to creating the evidence. But instead of taking disciplinary action, the sheriff’s department decided to keep him on the payroll, even giving him a promotion later.
Ironically, Ovalle was once awarded a gold medal for saving a woman from a burning car, yet he falsified evidence pertaining to the 2003 case.
In 2008, after he recovered a weapon from a crime scene involving an alleged gang member, the suspect's attorneys used the 2003 incident to discredit Ovalle, saying he should not be trusted with evidence. Thanks to Ovalle’s terrible reputation, prosecutors had to strike a deal with the suspect, and he ended up pleading guilty to a lesser charge.
Unfortunately, this is just one of the many cases involving deputies who have a track record of being dishonest and corrupt that The LA Times found out. And as we can see, having such a bad reputation ends up standing in the way of justice, as cops known for misbehaving cannot be trusted when handling cases.
Based on this report and its findings, it’s clear that Los Angeles officials are not serious about promoting safety and justice as more than 300 deputies have histories of poor conduct.
Alas, bad publicity won’t be enough to pressure local law enforcement departments to change. After all, it’s not the first time Los Angeles agencies have been involved in horrific scandals.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Flickr, Chris Yarzab