Three years ago two Los Angeles Sheriff deputies claimed they saw a man make a “hand-to-hand narcotics transaction” with firearms in open view inside a medical marijuana clinic. The problem, according to a criminal complaint, is that the officers reportedly made the entire thing up. The District Attorney announced that the two officers were arrested and charged last week for obstructing justice, perjury, and filing a false report — charges that can amount to more than seven years each, KTLA reports.
The complaint alleges that the officers — Jesus Martinez and Anthony Paez — shut off the video surveillance system and the electricity before planting two handguns in the clinic. According to a criminal complaint, they did not obtain a warrant beforehand and falsely arrested two men for possession of an unregistered firearm and ecstasy pills in the presence of a gun. That account contrasts sharply with what Martizez and Paez officially reported: Their version maintains they followed a suspect inside the clinic, found a “discarded firearm near a trash bin and another firearm on top of a desk next to ecstasy pills.”
Los Angeles law enforcement has a long and complicated history of police abuse, having faced more than a decade of federal oversight and a hundred reforms in response to rampant police abuse. Despite being heralded as a successful turnaround when the program ended in 2013, 18 former and current deputies now face a federal investigation for allegedly beating jail inmates and visitors and obstructing a federal investigation into the abuse. In the Los Angeles Police Department, officers were found to tamper with their own video surveillance equipment to avoid the very monitoring technology intended to curtail abuse.