LAPD Chief Moore Says Cops Who Falsify Documents Have 'Absolutely Zero Worth As A Police Officer'

LAPD headquarters in downtown L.A. (Andrew Cullen for LAist)

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating 20 officers for allegedly falsely identifying residents as gang members, after body camera footage revealed inconsistencies between some cops' documentation and their in-person interactions.

The Los Angeles Times broke the story Tuesday, reporting that the department launched the investigation after hearing from a mother in Van Nuys who received a letter saying her son was identified as belonging to a gang.

When she brought the accusation to her local police station and told them she believed it was incorrect, an internal review "found inaccuracies by the officer," the paper reported.

According to the Times, officers may have felt pressure to crack down on gangs by identifying or arresting members following an expansion of the Metro department meant to target guns and gang activity.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore said Wednesday that while officers' activity does have to be tracked in some way, no such pressure existed.

"There are no demands placed on an individual within this organization that would ever justify lying or falsifying," he said in an interview with KPCC's AirTalk. "As we go out and do our work, we are accountable to what our activities are, how we spend our days. The measurement of that ... should never drive behavior that would break [our code of] ethics."

Moore went on to denounce such behavior in strong terms.

"There is absolutely zero tolerance for an officer to falsify a record of any type," he said. "Officers' integrity is their most valued and cherished possession, and when they lose that because of falsification ... they have absolutely zero worth as a police officer."

At a news conference earlier Wednesday, Moore said, "if an officer falsified information on a field interview card ... that is not just wrong, it's a crime."

LAPD's investigation is ongoing.