LA Police Officers Accused of Faking Records to Claim People Were Gang Members

Los Angeles Police Department headquarters in downtown LA. (Courthouse News photo / Nathan Solis)

LOS ANGELES (CN) — Three Los Angeles police officers face charges of falsifying police reports to claim that people they pulled over during traffic stops had gang allegiance or some affiliation.

The LA County District Attorney’s Office announced the charges Friday.

In a 59-charge criminal complaint, prosecutors say Metro Division officers Braxton Shaw, Michael Coblentz and Nicolas Martinez misidentified people as gang members, falsified interviews, noted tattoos that did not exist and made up names on field reports.

Prosecutors say the men also forged documents to say that the people who were interviewed by the officers admitted to being part of a gang even though their body cameras proved otherwise.

Shaw is accused of falsifying 43 reports, Coblentz is accused of falsifying 7 and Martinez falsified 2 reports according to the DA’s office.

The case remains under investigation according to the DA’s office.

Each officer faces prison time if convicted with over 30 years for Shaw, 7 years for Coblentz and 4 years for Martinez.

The charges against the officers originated from a misconduct investigation by the LAPD’s Internal Affairs department and overseen by the Office of the Inspector General.

According to the LAPD, 21 additional officers remain under investigation as part of a probe into officers falsifying their field interview cards with 10 officers assigned to home duty, 8 on administrative duty, 5 who are still in the field and one who has retired.

As part of recent reforms within the department, the LAPD said they would stop using a controversial statewide gang database.

In a statement LAPD Chief Michel Moore said, “Public trust is the bedrock of community policing and these allegations shake that foundation.  The actions of these few tarnish the badge we all wear.  The department is committed to continuing this comprehensive investigation in our effort to restore the confidence of the people we protect and serve.”

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