Parker said officers were so upset by how they are treated that many were unsurprised by last year’s rampage of ex-Officer Christopher Dorner, who accused the LAPD of unfairly firing him. Dorner killed four people, including two on-duty officers, and wounded several more before he was fatally shot in a gun battle with police near Big Bear.
LAPD Sgt. Albert Gonzalez, a department spokesman, declined to comment on the specific investigation involving Parker. But he said in general, the department did not prohibit officers from speaking to the Police Commission, though they were asked to make comments while off-duty.
Gonzalez said civilians did not have to file formal complaints for the department to initiate an investigation into an officer's actions. He stressed that an internal investigation did not mean an officer was guilty of misconduct.
"The fact that we take a complaint is not an assertion that an officer is guilty," he said. "It's just a reaffirmation that we conduct thorough investigations."
Generally, he said, officers are prohibited from releasing confidential department records -- including audio recordings. He said the rule was designed to protect the integrity of ongoing investigations.
Watts has defended her behavior, writing in a Saturday L.A. Times op-ed that she and Lucas had been stopped four times by law enforcement since late spring.
Beck expressed support for the sergeant and officers earlier this month. The chief cautioned that he had not made a final decision about the matter but said he believed, based on an initial review of audio recordings, photographs and witnesses' statements, that the officers acted within their legal authority.