Civil rights group wants Los Angeles Housing Authority officer fired

LOS ANGELES- A civil rights group has demanded the firing of a high-ranking Housing Authority police officer after learning he was dismissed from another police job for beating a handcuffed suspect.

The state chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality in South Los Angeles will hold a news conference this week calling for the Housing Authority to fire Lt. Richard Musquiz, who oversees internal affairs for the 77-member force.

Musquiz has been a lieutenant with the agency, which polices the city's 8,700-unit public housing projects, for 3 1/2 years.

Chapter Vice President Sandra Moore said her group began asking for Musquiz' dismissal upon learning that he was fired from the Huntington Park Police Department in 1983.

''When you talk about beating up handcuffed people, our community has had enough of that,'' she said.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Musquiz admitted wrongdoing in the incident involving a shoplifting suspect, but said it happened a long time ago and he has learned from his mistakes.

''After that I learned that you have to maintain your composure,'' he said.

Musquiz, who appealed his dismissal and lost, said the incident has resurfaced because disgruntled officers at the Housing Authority have a vendetta against him.

The Congress of Racial Equality prompted the FBI to launch a civil rights investigation into the Huntington Park Police Department last month, and has since received several tips about current and former officers, including Musquiz.

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