LAPD Capt. Covered Patrol Car's Plate With Tape to Avoid Tolls, Lawsuit Claims

If you've ever felt like cops live by their own rules and laugh at you law-abiding peons, there's perhaps a little truth to the notion. At least -- allegedly -- sometimes.

And you know when an LAPD supervisor steps forward to say at least one lawman acted like the rules don't apply to him, there's got to be a little truth to it. Allegedly.

An LAPD whistleblower's lawsuit claims that a captain was less-than-legal on the road:

Sgt. James Abbate is suing the city, in part, because he says he experienced retaliation after outing Capt. Ruben De La Torre's alleged practice of putting duct tape on the rear plate of his take-home patrol car in order to avoid tolls and fines on the toll-lane portion of the 91 freeway.

Apparently De La Torre got slapped with some fines in 2009 after automated cameras caught him using the lane without paying for it, and $240 worth of bills went o the city, according to the suit.

By allegedly taping his plate he avoided that mess and also saved a whopping $7 per month in tolls -- and got to and from work quicker.

LAPD Capt. Covered Patrol Car's Plate With Tape to Avoid Tolls, Lawsuit Claims
John Liu

Asked in court yesterday if he turned De La Torre into the City Attorney's office, Abbate almost laughed:

I don't trust them any more than management at the LAPD. They're identical.

A little scary since prosecutors are supposed to weigh allegations against citizens brought to them by the LAPD at arms length and decide if there's enough evidence to take you to court.

Anyway, Abbate claims that, after taking his allegations to a deputy chief and even the powerful L.A. police union, he was essentially shit on by supervisors: He got his shift changed so that, he alleges, it made it difficult for him to take care of his mom.

The West L.A. assistant watch commander filed his suit in 2010 but it took until this week to air his eye-opening testimony in court.

[With reporting from City News Service / @dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]


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