‘I’m Disgusted’: LAPD Chief Discusses Officer Accused of Fondling Dead Woman’s Breasts

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Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said Thursday that he is “disgusted” by the allegation that an officer fondled the breasts of a dead woman. The incident came to light during a random inspection of body-worn camera video that purportedly showed the inappropriate touch, spurring an investigation into potential criminal wrongdoing, Moore told KTLA. The unidentified officer has been assigned home, and his badge and firearm have been confiscated. “Let me first and foremost apologize to the family,” the chief said. “I can’t imagine the pain that comes from losing a daughter, a 27-year-old woman, who we’re still investigating the circumstances of her death. But then to have that compounded by now reports of an allegation that an officer broke that trust,” he said, his voice trailing off. The Los Angeles Times was the first to report on the allegations involving a veteran officer assigned to LAPD’s Central Division in downtown. The incident happened after the officer and his partner responded to a call regarding a possible dead woman at a residence, the Times reported, citing sources. When they determined she was dead, one of the officers went back to their patrol car to get something. At that point, the accused officer deactivated his bodycam and fondled the dead woman’s breasts, LAPD sources told the newspaper. But at some point — and for an unknown reason — he apparently turned the device back on because the incident was caught in the two-minute buffer. Body-worn cameras automatically start saving audio and video from the two minutes prior to activation, according to the Times. Officials have not said when the incident or video review took place. Moore, who stated he has not seen the footage himself, told KTLA it is a crime to have any type of inappropriate contact with a corpse. “We are going to aggressively pursue any criminal violation,” he said. “Beyond that I’m disgusted by this. … This is not the standard.” When asked why the officer hasn’t been arrested, the chief responded that investigators want to build a successful prosecution first. The police chief also applauded the decision of the union that represents LAPD sworn personnel to not defend the accused officer in any potential criminal proceedings against him. That announcement from the Los Angeles Police Protective League came during a news conference held Wednesday, during which time the allegation was called “reprehensible” and “repugnant” by union leaders. Moore told KTLA that, “as an organization, as a profession, this is by means no something that has any sense of rational or justification.” KTLA’s Anthony Kurzweil contributed to this story. 

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