Crime & Justice

2 Los Angeles officers charged with DUI accident coverup

Andrew Bardwell /Flickr Creative Commons

Two Los Angeles police officers have been charged with covering up a drunken driving accident and lying on their report.

The officers pleaded not guilty last week to felony charges of conspiracy and filing a false report. Each faces up to three years in jail if convicted.

“What is most unusual about the case is that this is supposedly acts of omission, rather than acts of commission — it’s alleged failure to do something, which is most unusual in a criminal matter," Ira Salzman told KPCC. Salzman is the attorney for one of the officers, Irene Gomez.

About two years ago, the officers were sent to Boyle Heights, where a drunken driver had hit two parked cars.

Prosecutors say the officers decided not to conduct an investigation and wrote a report that said the driver had fled the scene. In fact, prosecutors say the officers put the man in their patrol car, drove him to his apartment and told him to get some sleep.

Salzman said the officers did nothing secretive.

“Normally an allegation of a false police report is for arresting somebody without any reason. Here, the officers responded to a call, they did an impact report, they noted that they were on scene," Salzman said.

The allegations beg the question of motive, Salzman said, as there's no connection between them and the individual they allegedly should have arrested.

Salzman said it will be difficult to recreate what happened since it was two years ago. Salzman added that they can't find any surveillance cameras nearby and the police weren't wearing body cameras at the time.

The driver was never charged with a crime.

The officers are due back in court on Oct. 11.

This story has been updated.