LAPD officer accused of falsifying gang records faced earlier credibility questions but stayed on elite unit

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A sergeant speaks to a platoon of LAPD Metropolitan Division officers deployed in 2015 as part of an effort to reduce crime.(Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

A sergeant speaks to a platoon of LAPD Metropolitan Division officers deployed in 2015 as part of an effort to reduce crime.(Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

A Los Angeles police officer charged last week with falsifying records and obstructing justice in the department’s gang-framing scandal was allowed to work in an elite division even though questions were raised about his credibility five years ago, according to records reviewed by The Times.

L.A. County prosecutors allege LAPD Officer Braxton Shaw falsified 43 field interview cards and said that he and two other officers wrote on the cards that people admitted to being gang members, when footage from the officers’ body cameras showed no such admissions or showed the people had explicitly denied gang affiliation. Prosecutors also allege the officers made up more than a dozen “fictional” gang members.

Shaw is one of more than 20 members of the vaunted LAPD Metropolitan Division under investigation amid suspicions that officers falsified field interview cards from traffic stops and entered incorrect information in an effort to boost stop statistics. Two other officers were charged with obstruction of justice and filing false police reports Friday.

Information from the interview cards can be added to CalGang, a statewide database for gathering names and personal details of people suspected of being active gang members or associates. The database has come under scrutiny after a state audit found errors and police reform advocates say it is operating under old guidelines that disproportionately impact Black and Latino men.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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