LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Criminal charges were dismissed Tuesday against three Los Angeles Police Department officers who were accused of falsifying records that claimed people they pulled over in traffic stops were gang members.
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The charges against Rene Braga, 41, Raul Uribe, 36, and Julio Garcia, 37, were dismissed following a preliminary hearing. Alex Bastian, special adviser to District Attorney George Gascón, said in a statement, “Our office is reviewing the decision and weighing our options.”
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor dismissed the charges, ruling there was no probable cause to proceed with the case, according to City News Service.
The officers were accused of falsifying field interview cards used by officers to conduct interviews while they were on duty, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors claimed some of the false information on the cards was used to wrongfully enter the names of people into a state gang database.
Prosecutors alleged the officers wrote on a field information card that a person admitted being a gang member even though body-worn camera video showed they either never asked the individuals about gang membership or that the people had denied gang membership when they were asked.
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Braga had been charged with one count each of filing a false police report and preparing false documentary evidence. Uribe and Garcia were charged with one count each of preparing false documentary evidence.
Similar charges are still pending against three other officers from the LAPD Metropolitan Division – Braxton Shaw, Michael Coblentz and Nicolas Martinez.
At one point, the LAPD indicated that about two dozen officers were under investigation over the completion of field interview cards. The LAPD was investigating alleged misuse of the CalGang system, a statewide database used by law enforcement for sharing intelligence regarding potential gang members, after it was announced in January 2020 that a teenager with no gang affiliations had entered the system.
The LAPD subsequently placed a moratorium on the use of the CalGang System.
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