Los Angeles taxpayers are going to be paying the price for years to come for their city’s tolerance of corrupt cops. After initially suggesting that only a few thousand cases would need to be reviewed, the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office recently admitted that it would have to re-examine upwards of 30,000 cases that the corrupt officers were involved with over the last 5 to 10 years.
Michael Judge, who heads the public defender’s office, told CNN that his office is already employing 20 lawyers at a cost of $4.5 million a year to re-examine cases and it will take “many years” for his staff to go through them. Add to that the wave of civil lawsuits against the city, and the ultimate price tag for the scandal could be staggering.
Of course the very same community victimized by an out of control LAPD will then be expected to turn around and compensate itself, though at one point there was talk of setting aside part of California’s stake in the tobacco settlement to cover some of the costs of the scandal.
Unfortunately this is certainly not the last corruption scandal that will hit L.A. (or other major cities, where cop corruption always flares up every few years). When you have police required to go into communities and treat everyone as suspects thanks to the war on drugs, this sort of widespread corruption is all but inevitable. It’s about time to declared the U.S. a demilitarized zone and cease hostilities in the war on drugs before nobody has any respect left for police.
Public defender: Up to 30,000 cases need review in light of LAPD scandal. CNN, August 10, 2000.