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Attorney General Bill Lockyer Issues Statement Regarding Rampart Investigation

Wednesday, March 15, 2000
Contact: (415) 703-5837

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today issued the following statement regarding the ongoing "Rampart" investigation:

"The best manner for law enforcement officials to investigate and prosecute misconduct in the Los Angeles Police Department has been the subject of ongoing discussions between state, federal and local criminal justice agencies over the last several days. It is obvious to me that all the authorities involved in the investigations and considering prosecutions are well-intentioned, and each has a valuable role and function that should be employed to serve the public interest in this case. Collaboration, not exclusion, among the various law enforcement agencies involved in this matter is what is now required.

"The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office is the best agency to prosecute those cases arising out of the Rampart investigations that are most suited to prosecution under state criminal laws. The United States Attorney's Office has a very valuable tool in the power of the federal grand jury process to get to the bottom of a complex investigation, and powerful and sweeping enforcement authority under federal civil rights laws. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has tremendous investigative resources and expertise. Investigators from the Los Angeles Police Department continue to develop valuable information due to their insight into the community and police department organization that no other agency can match. My office has an oversight role under the law to ensure the even and fair application of state law, and has also undertaken to review the organization and operations of the LAPD for compliance with California civil rights laws.

"All of these important resources should join forces to ensure justice and necessary reform for Los Angeles by sharing information and coordinating investigative efforts so that leads are followed, questions are asked and cases are developed to the fullest extent possible before collaborative decisions are made as to whether certain cases should be charged under either federal or state statutes. Such collaboration is the best way for these agencies to fulfill their responsibility to the public for a thorough and expedient investigation and a fair and just result.

"The current posture of the Los Angeles Police Department, in refusing to provide investigatory material to the district attorney is unfortunate, counter-productive, and without legal authority. The Los Angeles Police Department and its personnel have a duty under the law to cooperate with the district attorney. Moreover, as Attorney General, it is my duty to see that California's laws are uniformly and adequately enforced. The recent practice of the police department to withhold material from the district attorney appears unwarranted, illegal and not in keeping with the collaborative spirit under which this matter should proceed. I strongly urge the LAPD to reconsider its position, and redirect the efforts of the criminal justice agencies to a constructive path."

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