March 30, 2001 -- A former Los Angeles police officer pleaded guilty today to six criminal charges and will cooperate with prosecutors under a deal that could bring more indictments in the corruption scandal that has wracked the LAPD for two years.
Officer Nino Floyd Durden admitted in Los Angeles Superior Court to perjury, filing a false report, grand theft from drug dealers, and conspiracy to obstruct justice in the shooting of an unarmed gang member, who remains paralyzed.
Under his deal with county prosecutors, he is expected to be sentenced to just under eight years in prison, but his sentencing was delayed until he finishes cooperating with investigators.
Durden, who has remained free on bail for two months, is also scheduled to enter a plea agreement on separate federal charges in federal court on Monday, April 2.
Those charges involve violating civil rights, including those of the unarmed suspect he shot, and defacing serial numbers on a gun. He could get 35 years in prison, unless a federal judge takes his cooperation into account.
Perez Had Been Main Informant
Before today, Durden's partner, former officer Rapahel Perez, had been the main — and it looked like only — substantive informant in the investigation, particularly of the Rampart Division's anti-gang "Crash Unit" at the center of the scandal.
More than 100 criminal convictions have been overturned as a result of information provided by Perez.
Durden is expected to significantly add to the body of evidence against unidentified rogue officers.
After two years, only one case against Rampart officers has gone to trial. Four officers were found guilty of falsifying reports and framing suspects, but later had their convictions overturned.
Officials said today's plea agreement is one more step toward ending the scandal.
Saying "corrupt police officers are a cancer," FBI Assistant Director James DeSarno Jr. declared his office is committed to investigating both the extent to which citizens civil rights have been violated and to identifying which and how many officers are involved in criminal behavior.