“Most cops are fine people who never do anything wrong,” said Fyfe, who is also a former New York police lieutenant. “But there are a group of scumbags in that department that have caused the problems and who have been supported from the top. They think it is their birthright to go out and brutalize people.”
Officials with the LAPD acknowledge that their department has been steeped in controversy, but they insist the recent scandal will not prove to be a systemic problem. They say they are trying hard to root out the corrupt officers.
In all, 45 officers who once worked in the department’s Rampart division, including the five already indicted, have been relieved of their duties and remain at home while the internal police investigation continues.
“We had some cops do some bad things and we’ve had overzealous officers, who for the most part broke the law by trying to put some bad gang members in jail,” said Sgt. John Pasquariello, an LAPD spokesman. “That is wrong, definitely wrong.”
But Pasquariello says he believes the investigation will prove in the end that corruption in L.A. is far less serious than problems in other cities, like New York, which has seen a number of corruption scandals in recent years.
“We are going to make mistakes,” he said. “We will learn from our mistakes, but we are one of the most scrutinized police departments in the world.”