Complaints up against LAPD


The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — The number of complaints filed with the Los Angeles Police Department alleging misconduct by officers and civilian workers increased last year, a study found.

There were 6,716 complaints filed in 2006, up 3 percent from the previous year, according to an annual report to the five-member Police Commission, which sets policy for the department.

The increase does not account for an immigration rally last month in which officers were accused of using excessive force.

Police officials said the increase showed citizens were more willing to file complaints against department employees. But a police watchdog group said it raises concerns that the department's standards might be slipping.

"The average citizen should be concerned that complaints against the police are up because it signals that something is wrong," said Pete White of the Los Angeles Community Action Network.

According to the report, the number of LAPD employees facing complaint investigations who quit under pressure, were fired or were suspended increased from 421 in 2005 to 451 last year.

Commission President John Mack said only 2.7 percent of the 2,822 complaints of "discourtesy" were sustained last year, and said he asked the department to investigate the handling of such complaints, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The most frequent allegation, made 16.3 percent of the time, was "neglect of duty," the report found. It said the department investigated 391 complaints of preventable traffic collisions and 135 complaints of discrimination.

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