Undercover Officers to File Claims Against City, LAPD

Police Car in LA

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Several dozen Los Angeles Police Department undercover officers whose personal information was released and posted on various websites -- including one that reportedly listed bounties for the killing of officers -- plan to file claims against the city and LAPD leadership Tuesday, alleging negligence.

Lawyers for the officers said they will provide details of the claims on Tuesday, once they are filed.

The claims will come a week after the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing the department's rank and file officers, announced the LAPD had released the pictures, names, work locations and other information of some 9,000 officers following a California Public Records Act request filed by the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition.

That included officers who work in sensitive and undercover operations -- a release the department has dubbed a mistake.

The coalition had filed a public records lawsuit against the city, challenging what it called the LAPD's refusal to release basic personnel information on officers. The coalition also launched "Watch the Watchers," a website that publishes head shots and other information related to sworn personnel.

"Watch the Watchers" did not list bounties on officers -- but the website killercop.com did, according to a lawsuit filed last week by the LAPPL on behalf of three officers.

In addition, attorneys for the LAPPL last week served a cease-and- desist notice on Twitter and Google, seeking the immediate removal of the "killer cop" website from the platforms. Twitter subsequently suspended the account for violating its rules and policies against inciting violence against police officers. The "killer cop" website, meanwhile, is now inactive.

Tom Saggau, a spokesman for LAPPL, said the lawsuit filed by the union is not against the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, but against the owner of the "killer cop" website and the Twitter account @killercops1984.

The lawsuit names Steven William Sutcliffe, described as "a user of the website Twitter, and utilizes the username KILLERCOP1984."

Sutcliffe told the Los Angeles Times the lawsuit is "malicious. It's retaliatory. It is vindictive and frivolous. Their motion is filled with lies. They are trying to silence my free speech. The truth cannot be retaliatory. It is 1st Amendment protected speech."

Meanwhile, Jamie McBride, the LAPPL director, told City News Service, "We're looking into all websites to see legally what we can do. However, the `killer cop' website was of the utmost importance to our membership and for officers' safety."

Last week, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said he was not initially aware of the release. He later issued an apology and started an investigation.

However, the Inspector General's office stepped in and began its own probe after the LAPPL filed an internal affairs misconduct complaint against Moore and city personnel involved in the release of police officers' information.

"He knew or should have known that this was occurring, and the same thing for (LAPD administrative officer) Liz Rhodes," McBride said of Moore. "If he acted alone, or if she notified the chief, both of them are responsible for the release of these photos.

"Once we find out exactly who was in charge, or who was reckless enough to release these photos, we're going to ask those individuals to be removed from office because they jeopardized a lot of people's safety, including families."

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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