Attorney General Lockyer Announces Expanded Role in LAPD - Rampart Investigation
(Los Angeles) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced that he has ordered an expanded review of the ongoing LAPD Rampart investigations in an effort to assure the public that the Rampart investigation is thorough and fair, and to provide an early start in carrying out the Attorney General's oversight and review responsibilities. Lockyer has also arranged for a meeting among community representatives, defense attorneys, Los Angeles District Attorney and Attorney General staff to help facilitate information sharing on procedures affecting criminal cases which may be affected by the Rampart investigation, and to allow the community groups to discuss any concerns they may have regarding the progress of the investigation. The meeting is planned for February 29, 2000 at the District Attorney's office.
A team of experienced Department of Justice prosecutors and special agents, led by Deputy Attorney General Sharlene Honnaka and Special Agent Supervisor George Fawrup will monitor and review the methods and findings of LAPD criminal investigators and Los Angeles County District Attorney staff in order to help ensure that persons who have committed crimes are quickly brought to justice and that persons who have been unjustly convicted of crimes are released from custody as soon as possible.
Lawyers and investigative staff from the Attorney General's Civil Rights Enforcement Unit will also be assigned to monitor the work of the LAPD Internal Affairs Units assigned to Rampart and related inquiries in order to get first-hand information on allegations of individual and systemic police misconduct for review and later recommendation. The Attorney General staff will report to Chief Deputy Attorney General Peter Siggins, and the team will periodically report its findings and recommendations to the investigating agencies and to the public.
"I want to emphasize that we have no reason to believe that there is any problem with the conduct of the Rampart investigation by LAPD and the L.A. District Attorney's Office thus far," said Lockyer. "It is not our job to supplant or undermine the work of local authorities. In fact we hope to do everything we can to help them restore public confidence in the criminal justice system here in Los Angeles and throughout the state."
"However," Lockyer said, "given the breadth and depth of the Rampart allegations, there is no way to be certain that mistakes are being avoided without directly observing and reviewing the procedures and policies being applied to the Rampart investigation. The best way to help inspire public confidence is to share what we see and hear, as honestly and completely as possible – with the Department, with the District Attorney, with the Inspector General, the Police Commission, elected officials and with the public. The large number of police officers under investigation and criminal convictions which have come under the cloud of the Rampart allegations probably means that it will be many months, if not longer, before all the investigation and litigation comes to an end. We need to begin a careful review now, rather than months or years from now, to do a good job."