By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Field, when asked by the Weekly if this version of events supports Douglass’ contention that he made an honest mistake, said: ”I find his position inconsistent with the facts.“
L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley made prosecution of public corruption a mainstay of his campaign two years ago, criticizing incumbent Gil Garcetti‘s foot-dragging in the Rampart scandal. Cooley was out of town and not available for an interview.
One of his office’s chief critics is Gigi Gordon, director of the Post-Conviction Center and court-appointed attorney representing more than 2,000 indigent defendants in the Rampart scandal. She also helped with the Corona case. In her opinion, charges should have been filed against Douglass. ”What are the complications? Douglass admitted doctoring the evidence. You have the judge‘s ruling that it’s deliberate misconduct. This is a no-brainer.“
Attorney Rubin asks: ”Didn‘t Cooley pledge that police corruption would not be tolerated? Instead, they’re saying, ‘Don’t worry. We‘ll stand behind you, even when you manufacture evidence to frame someone.’“
According to D.A. records, obtained by the Weekly, Douglass has been subpoened to testify in hundreds of cases. But neither the D.A.‘s Office nor the LAPD has reviewed those arrests for potential misconduct.
Gordon believes that the D.A.’s Office should abide by a federal mandate that requires it to inform defense attorneys in all of those cases about the problems with the Corona case. ”They still haven‘t sent out letters notifying other defense lawyers, representing clients arrested by Douglass, about his misconduct. They need to do that, so those attorneys can file any appropriate appeals.“
Prosecutor Field said he has told defense attorneys in three or four open cases last January in which Douglass played a role. He would not identify the cases.
LAPD spokesman Lieutenant Horace Frank said Douglass faces an administrative hearing for his handling of the Corona case. The hearing is scheduled for mid-August.
Ignoring the lessons of Rampart, Jim Hahn’s City Attorney‘s Office waged an unsuccessful campaign for months to withhold Douglass’ discipline record from Corona‘s defense lawyers. According to those documents and additional ones obtained by the Weekly, Douglass has been the subject of 11 complaints since he was hired in 1971. He has worked at Southwest, 77th, Pacific, Hollywood and Harbor divisions. He’s currently a detective supervisor. The complaints include allegations of excessive force, dishonesty, destruction of documents, altering of records, bad tactics, neglect of duty, and violation of department procedures and traffic laws. Here are details:
• 2001 -- Douglass was administratively charged with making improper remarks to a fellow officer. The charge was sustained and Douglass received five days off.
• 1987 -- Douglass applied for injury-on-duty status. The claim was for PCP-induced stress, likely caused when he busted a PCP lab. Douglass stayed off work for nine months. The legitimacy of his claim was investigated by the LAPD, but the results were ”inconclusive.“
• 1985 -- Douglass was administratively charged with neglect of duty after he left his assigned patrol area to conduct personal business without permission. This complaint was sustained and combined with another unspecified charge. Douglass was given three days off.
• 1983 -- Douglass faced his first Board of Rights hearing after he was subpoenaed as a witness but failed to show up in court. Then he allegedly altered the subpoena logbook at Pacific Division to cover his failure to appear. He was also accused of lying to investigating officers. The board cleared Douglass after he passed an in-house polygraph test. However, in the board‘s written finding, one captain noted, ”There were indications that the officer did alter the record.“
• 1983 -- A neglect-of-duty complaint was sustained for his failure to handle a radio call. This complaint was combined with another unspecified charge, and Douglass was suspended three days.
• 1981 -- Douglass was ordered to fully account for his whereabouts on a shift by completing his Daily Field Activity Report. Instead Douglass threw away his previously submitted log sheet. This complaint was sustained, and Douglass received an admonishment.
• 1978 -- Douglass was reprimanded for his roughing up of an auto-theft suspect and, on the same day, for his handling of a man who was allegedly under the influence of PCP.
• 1977 -- Douglass was accused of getting a copy of actress Farrah Fawcett’s booking photo for his own personal use. He was suspended two days.
• 1975 -- Douglass and two other officers conducted an allegedly illegal search of a South-Central home, during which he was accused of physically forcing a confession from a man. Douglass received a 15-day suspension.
• 1974 -- Douglass was found to have unnecessarily run two red lights while on duty.
• 1973 -- Douglass was accused of dishonesty for allegedly taking $3,300 from a suspect. The resolution of this case is unknown.
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