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KU - Criminal Justice Ethics CJ-340. Unit #9 Pat McDonald. L.A.P.D.’s CRASH Unit. C = Community R = Resources A = Against S = Street H = Hoodlums Developed in the early 1970’s by LAPD Chief Daryl Gates to combat the large increasing gang problem. CRASH - History.

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Ku criminal justice ethics cj 340

KU - Criminal Justice Ethics CJ-340

Unit #9

Pat McDonald

L a p d s crash unit
L.A.P.D.’s CRASH Unit

  • C = Community

  • R = Resources

  • A = Against

  • S = Street

  • H = Hoodlums

    Developed in the early 1970’s by LAPD Chief Daryl Gates to combat the large increasing gang problem.

Crash history
CRASH - History

  • LAPD gave wide latitude to CRASH to aggressively fight the growing gang problems in the city.

  • Gang Crimes plummeted in Rampart and city wide violence declined.

  • All 18 divisions of the LAPD had a drop in crime. Ramparts was a huge drop!!

Crash success
CRASH Success

  • The “Success” of CRASH came at a great price

  • Rampart CRASH officers developed an independent subculture that the “war on gangs” mentality was where the “ends justified the means”

Crash officer problems
CRASH Officer Problems

  • CRASH officers resisted supervisors and their control

  • CRASH officers ignored Departmental Policies & Procedures and Rules & Regulations.

  • LAPD department managers ignored warning signs and failed to provide leadership, oversight, management and supervision to control this very specialized unit.

Downfall of rampart division
Downfall of Rampart Division

Between 1997 & 1998, four separate criminal incidents, all having ties to LAPD officers as well as Rampart CRASH officers, caused the LAPD to focus on and investigate the Rampart Division and Rampart CRASH.

Rampart beginning of the end
Rampart - Beginning of the End

  • Road Rage Shootout between officers

  • A Bank Robbery committed by a LA police

  • Excessive Force incident

  • Theft of narcotics from an LAPD evidence locker

Rampart incident 1
Rampart Incident #1

  • Road Rage Shootout 03-18-97

    • Off Duty LAPD officer Kevin Gaines who was African American was shot and killed by an on duty white LAPD officer Frank Lyga.

    • The shooting was ruled totally justifiable.

    • Gaines was found to be a “Blood” gang member

    • Later speculated that Officer Rafael Perez may have stolen the cocaine booked by Officer Lyga in retaliation for the shooting of Gaines to get Lyga in trouble.

Rampart incident 2
Rampart Incident #2

  • Bank of America Bank Robbery 11-06-97

    • LAPD Officer David Mack was ultimately convicted of this bank robbery which netted $772,000. He never revealed who else assisted him in the robbery.

    • It is suspected that Officer Rafael Perez was a possible suspect.

    • Perez, Mack and a friend went to Las Vegas after the robbery and spent the weekend gambling and spending thousands of dollars.

    • LA “Bloods” gang member

Rampart incident 3
Rampart Incident #3

  • Rampart Station House Beating 02-26-98

    • Rampart CRASH Officer Brian Hewitt was found to have beaten & choked a handcuffed a gang member until he vomited blood, while inside the Rampart police station.

    • He needed immediate hospital attention at which time he revealed his being tortured by LAPD.

Rampart incident 4
Rampart Incident #4

  • Missing Cocaine 03-27-98

    • LAPD property/evidence room discovered that six (6) pounds of cocaine was missing. $800k value

    • Within one week, detectives focused their investigation on CRASH officer Rafael Perez.

    • Later learned that Perez was stealing and/or recutting drugs and reselling them for profit.

Rampart crash task force
Rampart CRASH Task Force

  • These incidents led to the creation of the Rampart CRASH Task Force – May 1998

Crash unit investigated
CRASH Unit Investigated

  • Rampart CRASH Officer Rafael Perez arrested for possession of cocaine with intent to deliver.

  • Jury deadlocked

  • Officer Perez charged with other incidents of drug “transfers”.

  • Officer Perez cuts a plea deal and tells of many LAPD Rampart illegal acts.

Rampart illegal acts
Rampart Illegal Acts

  • Officer Perez advised internal affairs investigators of many LAPD wrongdoings

    • Most notorious was the shooting of an unarmed gang member Javier Ovando. Perez and his partner planted a drop gun and charged him with attempted murder of a police officer. He was convicted to 23 years.

    • Perez implicated at least 70 officers accusing them of misconduct from drinking beer on the job to bad totally unjustified shootings.

Rampart summary
Rampart Summary

  • May 2001

  • 58 officers were finally brought before the Administrative Board

    • 12 of them were suspended

    • 7 of them resigned

    • 5 of them were terminated

  • Over 100 criminal convictions were overturned

  • Millions of $$ settlements were offered by the city of Los Angeles including $15 million to Javier Ovando – who was shot and falsely accused by Officer Rafael Perez

  • Under Federal Mandate and Federal Consent Decree

Rampart allegations
Rampart Allegations

  • Convicted Offenses included:

    • Unprovoked shootings

    • Unprovoked beatings

    • Planting of evidence

    • Framing of suspects

    • Stealing & dealing narcotics

    • Bank robbery

    • Perjury

    • Covering up evidence of these activities

Rampart investigation suspicions
Rampart Investigation Suspicions

  • Officers Perez, his partner Nino Durden and David Mack are alleged to responsible for the death of rapper The Notorious B.I.G. – aka Biggie Smalls.

  • FACT: All officers were active members of the LA “Bloods” street gang and associated with “Death Row Records” & owner “Suge” Knight.


  • Were the officers of the CRASH unit a product of the police department environment?

  • Was this scandal a result of:

    • Lack of Supervision?

    • Poor Recruiting?

    • Poor Hiring?

    • Organizational Culture indifferent to citizens needs?

    • Combination of these things?


  • Was a tolerant attitude of supervisors and command officers to blame?

  • What could have been done to prevent this from happening?

  • Is this situation done in LAPD and is the department in good standing today?

  • If so, why?

  • If not, why?

Final essay
Final Essay

  • Answer all of the following questions:

    • How has terrorism impacted the police mission in the U.S.? What disagreements exist regarding the appropriate law enforcement behavior which fights terrorism but maintains personal liberties?

    • What role does social stigma play in police ethics? Give specific examples from your reading or your experiences where social stigma played a role in either furthering police corruption or reducing it.

    • Are the ethical forces behind police corruption the same as those involved in police abuses of force? Support your answer.

    • Discuss individual conscience and police assignments using specific examples. How can training prepare would be police officers for the ethical dilemmas they will face?

    • The paper will be a minimum of 5 double-spaced pages.

  • Get any late/past due papers/assignments in ASAP!!

Last class goodbye good luck
Last Class ~ Goodbye ~ Good Luck

  • This is our last class together - Good Luck!!

  • Thank you all for being such a great class!

  • Thank you for working so hard! I appreciate all your efforts.

  • Congratulations to those graduating soon and keep on going…….don’t stop!!

  • I hope you enjoyed the class and the subject matter of Police Ethics!!

  • Remember to keep you own Personal Ethical Compass pointing North. Stay ethical. Don’t give up!!

  • Please - Don’t throw ALL officers into the same pot!