Six more convictions overturned
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Six more convictions were thrown out Thursday as a result of the corruption scandal that has rocked the Police Department.
A judge dismissed the cases at the request of the district attorney’s office, bringing to 46 the number of convictions voided.
Charles Edward Harris, one of the six defendants, grinned as the judge ruled.
”The whole thing was a setup,” Harris said outside court.
Harris got out of prison five months ago after serving a 19-month term in a drug case. He charged that police planted weapons and drugs in his car in 1997. His attorney, Errol Stambler, said he will sue the police for violating Harris’ civil rights.
”I feel real blessed. I’d like to praise God,” Harris said, insisting he was not angry, just thrilled at the outcome.
The scandal erupted in the department’s Rampart division last year after Rafael Perez, a former officer convicted of stealing cocaine that had been seized as evidence, told investigators that he and fellow members of an anti-gang unit repeatedly falsified evidence, framed innocent people and committed perjury to help get them convicted.
At least 29 officers have been relieved of duty.
Perez helped make the arrests in all six cases thrown out on Thursday.
The reasons for the dismissals involved falsified evidence and perjury, said Sandi Gibbons, a district attorney’s spokeswoman.