On July 25, 2012, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office issued a press release stating that two LAPD officers were charged with perjury and filing a false police report after they allegedly falsely claimed to have stopped a suspected drunk driver in 2010. Craig Allen, 39, and Phillip Walters, 56, surrendered on that same day. Arraignment was set August 10, 2012 and both were released on their own recognizance.
The officers were patrolling on motorcycles during a 2010 DUI checkpoint when they were requested to assist a traffic stop by another officer. However, Allen wrote in his police report that he observed the driver fail to stop at two different stop signs and that he, not another officer, made the stop. Walters allegedly testified at the DMV hearing that he was with Allen when the stop was made and that he too witnessed the driver fail to stop at two different stop signs.
Not that it matters, but the motive for the cover-up by the officers remains a mystery and will do so until details come out though the court process.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck in his press statement said, “I am truly saddened by the events that led to the perjury charges pending against two of my officers. I do not believe that their intent was evil, just extremely misguided. The character of our organization is defined by the conduct that we condone. These actions were entirely unacceptable.”
It is easy to say that the actions of the officers do not represent the character of the Los Angeles Police Department, but to call the action “misguided” rather than “evil” is itself deceitful. Intentionally lying to secure a conviction and thus subjecting someone to the ramifications associated with a charge of driving under the influence is evil. Safeguards such as a finding of probable cause before a DUI investigation is essential to make sure that law enforcement does their job properly and legally. Without it, we’re no better off than we were when British officials investigated whatever they wanted whenever they wanted in Colonial America. Heard of a little thing called the Bill of Rights?
Since the investigation, one officer has been fired and the other is facing termination at an administrative hearing.
If convicted, the officers face up to four years, eight months in state prison.