Officer suspended for not telling police about bribery investigation

LAS VEGAS - A Las Vegas police lieutenant who had a felony bribery charge against him dismissed has been suspended for two weeks without pay for not telling his supervisors he was under investigation.

Lt. Larry Spinosa, 45, was not demoted and could appeal the suspension if he chooses.

Las Vegas police Lt. Marc Joseph said Spinosa is expected to return to his position as supervisor of the police property crimes section as soon as the suspension is completed. He has been on administrative leave with pay since the bribery allegations became public in March.

Spinosa was arrested in June 1999 on suspicion of driving under the influence in McCall, Idaho. At the time, he was supervisor of the police Internal Affairs Bureau, which investigates allegations of police misconduct. He eventually pleaded guilty to the driving under the influence charge.

Prosecutors allege he offered an Idaho state trooper $2,000 to avoid a drunken-driving arrest. The arrest was captured on videotape. A bribery charge was filed against Spinosa but was later dismissed.

Gary Peck, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, said Spinosa's punishment was too light. He also criticized the Police Department for not uncovering the details of Spinosa's conduct during the traffic stop until after the media did - and close to a year after the stop occurred.

Joseph said an Internal Affairs investigation determined Spinosa violated police policy by engaging in conduct unbecoming of an officer and that he failed to notify his supervisors of the pending police investigation.


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