A legal battle is brewing around one of the most secretive aspects of city government — disciplinary hearings for police officers — as the Los Angeles Police Department’s inspector general mulls a broad review of the process and the police union promises to block him at the door.
The looming standoff could shine new light on the administrative process for adjudicating misconduct allegations against LAPD officers at a time of intense scrutiny for police nationwide. It also revives questions about a 15-year-old California Supreme Court ruling that resulted in L.A. and other cities closing such proceedings to the public starting in 2006 — drawing a veil over how and whether officers are held accountable for alleged misconduct.
According to Inspector General Mark Smith, his office is developing plans to begin monitoring police Board of Rights proceedings to identify “inconsistencies” in board decisions, “inequities” in the process and other ways the system might be improved to ensure “just outcomes for all stakeholders.”
Officers go to a Board of Rights if they object to decisions by LAPD Chief Michel Moore and the Los Angeles Police Commission that they have violated administrative policies and deserve to be punished. The board can issue verdicts that override those of Moore and the commission.
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