Investigation launched after undercover LAPD officers info exposed
The database includes information on each officer including name, ethnicity, rank, date of hire, badge number, and division or bureau.
The Los Angeles police chief and the Department's constitutional policing director are under investigation after the names and photographs of undercover officers were released to a technology watchdog, which, in turn, posted them online, reported the Los Angeles Times.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore offered his “deep apologies” to the undercover officers during a police commission meeting on Tuesday. The officers did not have advanced notice of the disclosure.
The watchdog group Stop LAPD Spying Coalition posted a searchable online database last Friday which includes more than 9,300 officers' information and pictures, as reported by the Times.
The posted database included detailed information on each officer including their name, ethnicity, rank, date of hire, badge number, and division or bureau. It is still unknown how many of the officers listed were undercover.
Stop LAPD Spying Coalition opposes police intelligence-gathering and says the database should be used for “countersurveillance.”
“You can use it to identify officers who are causing harm in your community,” the group wrote. “Police have vast information about all of us at their fingertips, yet they move in secrecy.”
The release of the undercover officers' names and photographs was inadvertent, the Times reported. The city attorney's office is legally required at the agency to turn over the records under California Law; exemptions are often made for safety and investigation reasons.
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“We will look to what steps or added steps can be taken to safeguard the personal identifiers of our membership,” Moore said Tuesday.
Police officials highlighted the safety risks the database poses to officers who are currently undercover or will work in that capacity in the future.
The Knock LA reporter, Ben Camacho, mentioned that he filed the records request and a lawsuit last year to get the photographs. The department had not previously raised the issue of officer safety in arguing against their release, he said.
“The only officers they are excluding from disclosure are undercover officers, which is expected,” a deputy city attorney wrote in an email in 2022 to Camacho’s attorney, according to a screenshot the journalist posted online.
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