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May 17, 2007
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Report cites concerns about LAPD officer training

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A federal monitor overseeing reforms at the Los Angeles police department says a violent clash at a pro-immigration rally raised questions about the progress of officer training.

Michael Cherkasky wrote in a report Tuesday that the May 1 clash, in which police used batons and fired rubber bullets, should not obscure the department's significant progress over the past six years. But he raised concerns about elements of the force reverting to bad practices from the past.

Among the questions Cherkasky, a former prosecutor, was concerned with were command, control, strategy and tactics at the scene, and policies and procedures on the use of force.

"Change is difficult," Cherkasky wrote. "It is particularly difficult in large organizations, and it is not unusual or unexpected that vestiges of pre-change behavior may, at times, be revealed. The challenge for the department is how to respond when this occurs."

Police Chief William Bratton said that he had the same concerns and that the department was working closely with Cherkasky.

Four investigations have been ordered to review police efforts to drive protesters and journalists out of MacArthur Park. More than 60 citizen complaints have been filed involving as many as 100 officers, Bratton said.

A federal judge appointed Cherkasky in 2001 to oversee a consent decree requiring more than 100 reforms after the Rampart station corruption scandal.

Scores of convictions deemed tainted by the Rampart scandal allegations were thrown out and about $70 million in settlements were paid by the city. Dozens of officers were investigated, leading to some resignations and internal discipline, but there were only a few prosecutions.


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