More LAPD officers could face charges in alleged falsifying gang member data investigation

Three officers are charged with falsely reported people they stopped with gang members or associates

More than a dozen Los Angeles police officers could face criminal charges in connection with the alleged false labeling of people as gang members or associates.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office told Fox News a case was submitted on 19 officers. Charges against three were announced last week.

"The remaining cases are under review," a spokesman for the district attorney's office said in a statement.

KNBC-TV reported that some officers in the department's Metropolitan Division were suspected of fabricating information from interviews with members of the public to boost their productivity numbers.

Three officers were charged last week in a 59-count complaint with misidentifying people as gang members by submitting so-called field interview cards with false information.

Braxton Shaw, 37, Michael Coblentz, 42, and Nicolas Martinez, 36, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and multiple counts of filing a false police report and preparing false documentary evidence, officials said.


At times, the officers reported that someone admitted to being a gang member despite the person denying any gang affiliation, prosecutors alleged.

In some instances, footage from the officers' body camera showed defendants never being asked about gang membership at all, prosecutors said. The alleged information obtained was later added to "CalGang," the state's criminal intelligence database used by law enforcement to identify alleged gang members.

Shaw is accused of falsifying 43 interview cards while Coblentz and Martinez are suspected in falsifying seven and two cards, respectively.

“Public trust is the bedrock of community policing and these allegations shake that foundation.  The actions of these few tarnish the badge we all wear," Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said in a statement last week. "The Department is committed to continuing this comprehensive investigation in our effort to restore the confidence of the people we protect and serve.”

One officer was relieved of duty in January and referred to a tribunal for the “for the purpose of removal" and the other two have been assigned to their homes. Their peace officer powers have been suspended.

The department said 21 other officers are currently under investigation involving the use of the field identification cards. Moore ordered his officers last month to stop using the card system, according to an internal memo obtained by KNBC-TV.

Los Angeles Sheriffs officers and Los Angeles Unified School District police officers guard the campus of Esteban Torres High School in unincorporated East Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Los Angeles Sheriffs officers and Los Angeles Unified School District police officers guard the campus of Esteban Torres High School in unincorporated East Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

"To strengthen community trust and avoid any adverse impact on individuals, particularly in communities of color, the Department has enacted a complete moratorium on the use of the CalGang System," he wrote.

The department did not provide Fox News with the memo.


CalGangs is managed by the state Department of Justice and the office of the California Attorney General. In February, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced his office would review LAPD submissions and said it could lose access if widespread problems were detected.

Moore and other LAPD officials denied pressure on officers to produce statistics, the news outlet reported. The news outlet said statistics -- contacts with gang members, arrests and other metrics -- were reviewed by LAPD executives. Sources told the station that officers were told "the more gang contacts, the better."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.