Friends Of Crash Victim Allege LAPD Cover-Up

Friends of a Brentwood woman who was killed in a collision with a Los Angeles Police Department cruiser last month held a vigil this week and called for an investigation into whether the patrol car was speeding to an emergency call without its lights and sirens on -- a practice that was banned by the department in 2004.

Friends and family of 25-year-old Devin Petelski call the practice "silent running" and have started a Facebook page to urge the LAPD to take stricter measures to "end" that kind of driving. Police have said the cruiser was not speeding but that it was, in fact, responding to an officer-assist call for a burglary in progress when it crashed into Petelski's BMW shortly before midnight of Oct. 15.


Friends and family say the cruiser in question can be seen in photographs just after the collision with its lights out. Police say that the woman pulled out in front of the cruiser as it headed east on Venice Boulevard at Glyndon Avenue near Venice High School.

"The impact also caused the police car to spin around in a southeast

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direction and run into a traffic sign and tree, injuring the two

officers in the car," states the LAPD.

One witness told KPCC (89.3 FM) that they watched the patrol turn onto

Venice Boulevard from Lincoln Boulevard and then turn off its overhead

lights as it went east.

Det. Jesse Ravega of the LAPD's West

Traffic Division said "silent running" is "not a practice" of the

department and that,  "I've never ever heard of it. It was

something that was brought up in cyberspace. Someone found a catchy

phrase."

However, the department did have just such a practice

under a different name before it was overturned under the leadership of

Bill Bratton in 2004. It was called, in department parlance, "code 2

high," and it encouraged officers to race to emergency calls with

lights and sirens off.

The practice allowed officers to race to

the scene of crimes-in-progress such as burglaries, bank robberies and

assaults without tipping off the bad guys (and girls) that they were en

route. However, Bratton banned the

practice and put the LAPD's response policy in line with other departments: It was either obey the road rules, or run with lights and

sirens ("code 3").

"Code 2 high -- we no longer have that,"

confirms Officer Rosario Herrera. "I understand that was years ago.

Code 2 is of priority, but not as priorty as code 3, but get there as

fast we can."


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