The final black cloud over the Los Angeles Police Department has lifted.
A 2001 consent decree that put LAPD under federal oversight following allegations of false arrests, excessive force and unreasonable searches and seizures in the wake of the Rampart scandal is officially over:
U.S. District Judge Gary Allen Feess "released the LAPD from the consent decree and transition agreement," the office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said today. It added:
The LAPD has fully complied with the requirements and has institutionalized constitutional and community policing.
In 2009 the judge lifted the decree but with the caveat of a "transition agreement" that required the department to check in with the Police Commission regarding its reform progress.
Feess said he would keep an eye on that. No more. It's all done.
Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck scheduled a 4:30 p.m. City Hall press conference to talk about it.
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Tyler Izen, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the LAPD officers' union, said in a statement sent to the Weekly:
We are very pleased that after over a decade the Department is free of a federal judge having jurisdiction over the Los Angeles Police Department. Now we can begin looking for efficiencies in LAPD processes while at the same time maintaining the transparency the public deserves.
So are things 100 percent better at LAPD? The case of Christopher Dorner brought up some ghosts of LAPD racism. Whether they're remnants of the past or an ongoing backstory for the department remains to be seen.