5 residents file lawsuit alleging LAPD falsely labeled them as gang members

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The Los Angeles Police Department is seen in an undated photo. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Police Department is seen in an undated photo. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

Five residents allege in a lawsuit filed Sunday that Los Angeles police officers labeled them gang members without evidence as part of a broader pattern of corruption that has caused irreparable harm to them and many others.

Citing a growing scandal in which LAPD officers stand accused of lying about gang affiliations on field interview cards, the litigants are seeking class-action status to sue on behalf of thousands of people who they say “have been victims of scofflaw Los Angeles Police Department officers who filed fraudulent reports, lied under oath, and abused gang database systems.”

“We believe there are thousands of people who have been categorized and dehumanized,” said Humberto Guizar, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “A law that was meant to stop gang violence was used incorrectly by the police department and subverted to the point where they criminalized thousands of people.”

One plaintiff, Sara Ochoa, alleged she worked as a California corrections officer until LAPD officers in January misclassified her as a gang associate “simply for going back to visit” the East L.A. neighborhood where she grew up.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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