LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11 / CNS) - The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing the police department's rank and file, announced Thursday that it is filing a federal lawsuit against the city, the LAPD and police Chief Charlie Beck over what it called the unconstitutional structure of the body that decides discipline issues involving officers.
The union said in a statement that the suit is meant to put a stop to Beck's "corrupting influence" over the LAPD Board of Rights, a three-person panel charged with deciding discipline cases for officers facing long-term
suspension or termination. The City Charter provides for the board to consist of two LAPD command staff members and one independent civilian member.
The Board of Rights is supposed to perform its duties in a fair and impartial manner, but, in fact, the two senior officers on the board "owe their livelihood" to Beck, the statement said.
The suit seeks a federal court order declaring that the City Charter provision regarding the involvement of two senior officers on the Board of Rights violates the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
The post-Civil War amendment made it unconstitutional to deprive people of life, liberty or property without due process and guarantees people equal protection under the law.
"The lawsuit details Chief Beck's command-staff exerting improper influence over police members of the BoR panel to uphold the chief's recommended discipline decision," the statement said.
It said four LAPD captains, who, by virtue of their rank, are not represented by the police union, recently filed suits against the LAPD "detailing the inappropriate influence from Chief Beck during the BoR process."
Police Protective League President Craig Lally planned to hold a news conference late this morning, along with a union attorney, to discuss the lawsuit.
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