The union representing Los Angeles police on Wednesday expressed concern about a forthcoming made-for-TV movie about the 'Rampart Scandal' that involved the convictions of four L.A. cops.
The late-'90s scandal, involving some officers who were members of the Los Angeles Police Department's now-defunct CRASH anti-gang unit in the Rampart Division, involved two suspects who were shot or beat up, the theft of cocaine, and a cop-on-cop shooting, among other things. It tarnished the department and led to a succession of leadership changes that, at least initially, only served to make good cops jump ship.
The union is concerned that the movie will unfairly paint the entire department at the time as corrupt when, the Los Angeles Police Protective League argues, only two officers ended up being convicted of corruption.
“We take issue with the broader characterization of a Rampart scandal, which should have been renamed long ago as the Rafael Pérez scandal,” states a union blog post. “Because after all was said, written and investigated, the Rampart 'scandal' resulted in four convictions – only two of which were for corruption. Also, as a result of Pérez's lies, a federal court upheld a $15 million jury verdict for three Los Angeles police officers who were falsely arrested and prosecuted.”
“Now, after years of building trust and cooperation in the communities that need our officers' protection the most, we are concerned that dramatic license will again be taken to twist the Rampart allegations into 'proof' of widespread corruption in the LAPD – and that the actual facts in the Perez scandal will be glossed over in favor of what works creatively,” the post goes on to state.
The LAPPL then quotes author James Ellroy, whose story about the scandal is reportedly the basis for the movie:
” … I've always characterized [the scandal] as a stick of dynamite with a wet fuse,” Ellroy stated. “Rampart is another of these misperceived criminal conspiracies. It's really the story of a handful of rogue, criminal cops who ratted out a wider number of untainted cops to save their own skins. And the entire event blew out of proportion into a media event that most people took to represent large-scale endemic corruption in the LAPD. In reality it wasn't that.”