The move was prompted by concerns that LAPD was fabricating evidence.
California’s gang database, known as CalGang, has been a source of controversy in recent years. The purpose of the system is to collect statewide information on gangs in California. However, it is often use to racially profile Californians, and has been found to contain inaccurate records. For example, in one case, a mother reported that the LAPD had identified her toddler son as a gang member.
16 officers with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) are currently under investigation for fabricating evidence. An additional 3 LAPD officers have already been charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, filing false police reports, and preparing false documentary evidence. Another 21 LAPD officers are under investigation for misusing field identification cards, which are used by officers to conduct interviews while on duty.
Given this apparently widespread issue within the LAPD, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra recently announced that access to LAPD data entered into CalGang has been revoked. LAPD data makes up approximately 25% of the 78,000 records in the CalGang database. In doing so, Becerra noted that CalGang is only as good as the data that is put into the system; if a quarter of the data is under suspicion, then the entire CalGang database should be put under the microscope.
According to a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, CA, this step is important as part of a broader effort to examine how CalGang is used. In California, individuals who are identified as gang members may be more likely to be investigated or accused of crimes. If a person is identified as a gang member, then they may also be subjected to enhanced penalties if they are convicted of a crime through California’s gang enhancement.
If you are accused of a crime in California, an experienced lawyer can thoroughly analyze the evidence against you — including the reason why you may have been entered into CalGang. In this way, your criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, CA can challenge your entry into the database along with any proposed enhanced charges for alleged gang activity.
The criminal justice system in California has many flaws, including racial bias. When police officers fabricate evidence and falsely identify people as gang members, it can have a serious impact on that person’s life. While revoking access to LAPD data is a good first step, it does not address the apparent widespread issues with law enforcement officers making up evidence in Los Angeles and elsewhere.
At the Chambers Law Firm, we are dedicated to providing the best possible defense to each of our clients. We aggressively advocate for Californians charged with a range of crimes, from misdemeanors to felonies. As a former prosecutor, attorney Dan E. Chambers understands how the system works, and puts this knowledge to work for his clients. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation, reach out today at 855-397-0210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.