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Why LAPD officers escaped serious discipline after shootings

Posted on 07 April 2018 by admin (0)

By David Crane / Los Angeles Daily News

It was a spur-of-the-moment drug bust that went bad. Terribly bad.

With a marked $5 bill in hand, Los Angeles Police Department narcotics detective Arthur Gamboa leaned against a wall on a busy downtown sidewalk.

“Weed, Klonopin, weed, Klonopin …” That’s what Dale Garrett, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound black man was chanting that May day in 2011, the detective told investigators. He “snatched” the $5 bill from the officer and kept walking, Gamboa said. When the veteran detective protested, he said Garrett, 51, turned to face him and unfurled a long serrated knife. The detective fired two shots, fatally.

But the autopsy showed both shots entered Garrett’s back. And when another officer overturned Garrett’s body, he found a knife that was folded, not open. The civilian Police Commission found the evidence contradicted Gamboa’s version and ruled he violated department policy.

The two officers behind the sting operation were suspended for 22 days — a punishment rare for the LAPD, both for its length and that such discipline happened at all. Most shootings are deemed problem-free.

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