LAPD officers wanted to go undetected when they worked Black neighborhoods, a department inspection has revealed.
Investigators found that more than half of the 80 squad cars in the Southeast region –covering Watts, and housing projects, Jordan Downs and Nickerson Gardens — were missing video monitoring devices.
An additional 10 police vehicles were found without antennas used to record what officers say when they’re not in the squad car.
Police also wear transmitters on their belts that record conversation from the field back into the dash cam. Antennas can capture their speech from hundreds of yards away, while the video recording device only captures actions occurring directly in front of the squad car.
Although LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck found out about the equipment tampering last summer, he took months to inform the Police Commission, which overseas the department. Beck claims that the coverup wasn’t intentional.
“On an issue like this, we need to be brought in right away,” Steve Soboroff, commission president, told the Los Angeles Times. “This equipment is for the protection of the public and of the officers. To have people who don’t like the rules to take it upon themselves to do something like this is very troubling.”
The LAPD has long has a reputation for corruption. Perhaps the most famous incident involving officers from the department was the Rodney King beating in 1992.
The U.S. Department of Justice had been closely monitoring the LAPD up until last year, partly due to the installation of the recording devices, which are used to discourage officer misconduct.