Police Officers Awarded $15 Million for Malicious Prosecution

Police Officers Awarded $15 Million for Malicious Prosecution

A federal jury has awarded three Los Angeles police officers $15 million in damages for reasons of false arrests and malicious prosecution against the men during the infamous Rampart corruption scandal.  Sergeant Edward Ortiz, Officer Paul Harper and former Sergeant Brian Liddy were favored by the jury in a unanimous vote regarding their April of 2000 corruption charges.

“It was real, real obvious that they were made the fall guys,” commented a jury member in regards to the case, “We listened to the evidence for three weeks and never head any hard evidence against them.”

Ortiz, Liddy and Harper were falsely accused and arrested in 2000 on charges involving drug dealer and gang member Allan Lobos.  Former Officer Rafael Perez, knowingly falsely accused the officers of framing Lobos in a gun incident in order to lessen his sentence for personal charges of stealing three kilograms of cocaine from the police department. 

All officers were acquitted of the allegations however; their careers and reputations have been severely bruised by the incident.  Attorney Etan Lorant who represented the police officers in the case commented, “They’ve been through hell.  The jury did the right thing. These guys deserve it.” Lorant added that the process has taken a tremendous emotional toll on the men, and a financial toll on himself who continued to work on a non-profitable case, which he felt passionately about. 

Others in the city of Los Angeles however, are not as thrilled with the verdict.  Dale Goldfarb, who represented the city in the case commented, “We think the verdict was completely wrong and was not supported by any evidence at the trial. 

A spokesman for the city’s mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa also expressed opposition to the outcome of the case.  “It’s obviously a significant amount of taxpayer money,” spokesman Joe Ramallo commented. “It’s serious.”

The large sum of money awarded to the plaintiffs is following a previous $70 million that has been doled out from city funds to pay off Rampart settlements.  The settlement will substantially affect city funding and Mayor Villaraigosa’s planned efforts to expand the Police Department. 

The mayor’s spokesperson added that the $15 million awarded to the men could fund an additional 150 officers. 

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