LAPD Officers Expand Lawsuit Allegations Over Photo Releases

Police Car in LA

Photo: georgeclerk / iStock Unreleased / Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - One of the large groups of LAPD officers with sensitive assignments who have sued the city, alleging their safety was affected by the release of department photographs earlier this year through the California Public Records Act, is now making additional allegations, including malpractice by the City Attorney's Office.

Prior to the department making the photos available, the officers went to great lengths to keep their identities concealed, according to the amended Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed Monday on behalf of about 143 current or retired plaintiffs identified only as Jane and John Does.

The officers serve in or were previously assigned to such units as the Major Crimes Division, the ATF Gun Violence Reduction Task Force, the Gangs and Narcotics Division and human trafficking, the updated suit states.

"Due to the photo release, plaintiffs now reasonably fear retribution from ... extremely dangerous criminals, which may involve harassment, intimidation, injury and death to themselves and their families," the revised suit states.

The initial complaint filed Sept. 5 alleged negligence and failure to perform a mandatory duty. The revised complaint adds causes of action for legal malpractice by the City Attorney's Office, invasion of privacy, public disclosure of private facts, negligent infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract.

Mayor Karen Bass has called the photo release an "egregious mistake," and LAPD Chief Michel Moore "has made several public statements regarding this reckless breach," according to the updated suit.

LAPD officers with concealed identities had a reasonable expectation of privacy, according to the amended suit, which  additionally states that the impacted officers are in a state of constant stress which they did not have prior to the photo release.

The plaintiffs have all performed undercover operations and/or plain clothes surveillance, according to the amended suit, which seeks economic and emotional distress damages, plus attorneys' fees and costs.

Last week, a separate group of more than nearly 700 officers filed a similar lawsuit against the city.

The LAPD released the officers' images through the CPRA after a request by a Knock LA journalist. The Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, an activist group, then put the photos and other information of about 9,000 officers into a publicly accessible database in March.

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