THE O.J. SIMPSON MURDER TRIAL : Chief Says There’s No List of 100 Officers Under Scrutiny : LAPD: Williams contradicts earlier statement. Department review is evolving, he says.


Contradicting his eyebrow-raising statements of earlier this week, Police Chief Willie L. Williams on Thursday acknowledged that there is no list of about 100 problem officers under scrutiny by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Internal Affairs division.

“It’s not a list . . . it’s a continuous review from time to time,” Williams said, confirming that the department has been keeping closer tabs on differing numbers of officers since 1991.

Williams surprised LAPD officials, police commissioners, the mayor and others when he told reporters Tuesday that the department had added about 100 officers to its watch list of 44 problem officers identified in the 1991 Christopher Commission report on racism and excessive force problems.


The additional officers had been identified by the number of complaints of sexism, racism or excessive force, Williams told reporters after meeting with the City Council about remarks made by then-Detective Mark Fuhrman that surfaced in the O. J. Simpson murder trial.

Police Commission President Deirdre Hill and others closely connected to the department had said they were at a loss to explain what the chief meant. “I can’t [tell] you what the chief was referring to,” Hill said, adding that as far as she knew, “the department has not tracked these particular officers.”

Williams said Thursday that he was referring to a more fluid review process and said members of his staff did not understand this when they told a Times reporter Wednesday that they knew nothing about a list or any special scrutiny of particular officers.

“Unfortunately, some senior managers who should have known better didn’t understand the entire process as it has been unfolding and as it will continue to unfold,” Williams said.

Williams said a system of closer monitoring was begun in November, 1991, by then-Chief Daryl F. Gates, who informed police commissioners that the department had identified 183 officers who had four or more complaints against them. That list included the 44 problem officers identified by the Christopher Commission a few months earlier. The officers’ supervisors were asked to monitor them and report back to a special committee. Thirty-four of the officers remain with the force.

After that committee’s review, the total was whittled down to 104 officers. Williams said he is in the process of deciding on the criteria for this year’s evaluation.


“I think it’s clear there has been a continuing review process, but there’s no one list forever,” Williams said. Rather, he added, the list is constantly evolving.

“You have to understand that if an officer had a problem six, seven, eight, 10 years ago and has changed his behavior over the last four or five years, it’s incumbent upon me as chief of police and others to say, ‘You’ve learned, you’ve turned around, and you will not stay a part of this group,’ ” Williams said.

Mayor Richard Riordan, who participated in Thursday’s news conference, said later that it was clear to him that “there is essentially a tracking system on everyone.”

“The officers I talked to made it clear they know they are being tracked,” Riordan said. “The real question is, ‘Does the department has a system for overall tracking?’ ”

Times staff writer John Schwada contributed to this story.