Civilian complaints about serious misconduct by L.A. police officers are downplayed by investigators, a recent citywide audit found for the third year in a row. Now the ACLU/SC has told the Police Commission, which oversees the department, that "three years is enough." The ACLU/SC called for civilian investigators or civilian supervisors.to take over responsibility for investigation of serious complaints from police officers, who currently investigate themselves.

"Civilian complaints should provide an early-warning system for internal problems and an opportunity to respond directly to community concerns about how they are policed," the ACLU/SC's letter stated. "If the Department is committed to winning the trust of all Angelenos, it should make an effective complaint process a priority."

The February audit found widespread problems in nearly half of inquiries into excessive use of force and other serious misconduct. Police officers repeatedly discounted evidence and exonerated officers based on statements from witnesses that did not appear on taped evidence.

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