Two Los Angeles police officers have been acquitted Monday of conspiring to impede justice after prosecutors accused them of failing to arrest a drunk driving suspect and writing false stories in order that they might wrap up their shift and go residence.
After three days of deliberating, jurors additionally discovered Officer Irene Gomez not responsible of submitting a false report and deadlocked eight to four in favor of acquittal on the identical cost for Officer Rene Ponce, the protection attorneys stated.
Ponce’s lawyer, William Seki, stated prosecutors relied too closely on the statements of the drunk driving suspect.
“The allegations have been ridiculous, and a greater investigation ought to have been completed,” he stated.
Gomez’s lawyer, Ira Salzman, stated the officers have been already working additional time on the day of the incident and had no motive to attempt to wrap up their shift.
“What makes this case so uncommon is the allegation right here was these officers did not make an arrest moderately than made a wrongful arrest,” he stated.
The Los Angeles County district lawyer’s workplace has but to determine whether or not it can search to retry Ponce, a 15-yr veteran, on the only felony rely of writing a false police report. Greg Risling, a spokesman for the workplace, stated that call might be made at a later date.
Salzman stated his shopper, who joined the Los Angeles Police Division six years in the past, has been off work since September 2016. The LAPD, he stated, will now conduct an inner administrative investigation into her actions.
The incident started on a Sunday morning in 2014 when Del Mar Alan Garcia Gomez, 32, was driving house from his son’s first birthday celebration round 6 a.m. Close to his condo, he testified, he fell asleep behind the wheel and slammed his pal’s Mustang into two parked automobiles in his Boyle Heights neighborhood.
When he got here to, a number of individuals huddled across the automotive and grabbed him when he acquired out, accusing him of being drunk, Garcia Gomez stated. He testified that he had not been consuming.
Somebody took his home keys and pockets, and he went throughout the road to attend for police, he stated.
When Ponce and Gomez confirmed up in a patrol automotive, a witness stated she informed the officers she thought the driving force was drunk, LAPD Sgt. Anthony Vasquez, who investigated the officers, stated at an earlier listening to.
One other witness stated he heard the driving force admit to one of many officers that he had been consuming, based on Vasquez.
Garcia Gomez stated Ponce requested him to stroll in a straight line and shone a flashlight in his eyes, however later informed him to disclaim that he was driving the automotive. The officers then dropped him off at his house close by.
They then wrote reviews indicating that the Mustang was deserted on the scene and the driving force “was not at scene.”
The subsequent day, Garcia Gomez and his pal, the automotive’s proprietor, went to say the Mustang from an LAPD impound yard. There, Garcia Gomez stated, he came upon the automotive was tied to successful-and-run investigation. He complained, telling an LAPD visitors detective he by no means fled the scene.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Martha Carrillo argued through the case that the officers lied and let Garcia Gomez go as a result of they have been in a rush to complete their shift.
Salzman stated the driving force by no means spoke to his shopper and was nowhere round when Ponce allegedly advised Garcia Gomez to falsely say he had not been driving the automotive.
The lawyer stated Gomez and Ponce weren’t making an attempt to cover something throughout their investigation of the incident. Whereas the officers have been on the scene of the crash, he stated, they requested dispatchers if a specialised visitors officer might reply to the scene. Nobody was despatched.
four:forty p.m: This text was up to date with a further assertion from prosecutors.
This text was initially revealed at three:10 p.m.