LAPD officer detained with Crips associate who had gun and drugs, source says
An off-duty Los Angeles police officer was briefly detained over the weekend while he was with an associate of the Rollin’ 60s Crips who was found with drugs and a “ghost gun,” according to a department source.
Police are investigating not only the officer’s actions but also those of his colleagues who detained him, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement to The Times.
Late Saturday, 77th Street Division gang enforcement officers spotted two men standing next to a parked vehicle in South L.A., the department source said. The officers searched the vehicle and found narcotics and an untraceable “ghost gun” inside a bag, the source said.
The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss an open investigation, said the officer identified himself as an off-duty member of the Southwest Division and denied knowing anything about the drugs or the gun.
The other man, who the source said is affiliated with the Rollin’ 60s gang, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a concealed firearm. Investigators from the LAPD’s Internal Affairs unit who were summoned to the scene were unable to refute the officer’s claims that he was unaware of the contraband inside the vehicle, the source said.
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An LAPD spokesperson confirmed that both the detained officer and the gang unit officers were under investigation by Internal Affairs but said she was limited in what she could say about an ongoing investigation. She did not say why the gang officers initiated the stop or what prompted investigators to take a closer look at their actions.
The department will review body-camera footage from the Saturday encounter as part of its investigation.
An email to the detained officer went unreturned Monday afternoon.
The arrested man was identified as DQuan Clarke, 28, of Los Angeles. He was held on bail of $35,000, records show.
In January 2017, Clarke was charged in L.A. County with grand theft, petty theft, attempted grand theft and forgery in connection with a Dec. 6, 2016, incident. He pleaded no contest to grand theft in September 2017 and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years probation, court records show.
Under LAPD policy, officers are prohibited from associating with known gang members or others engaged in criminal activity.
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The Los Angeles Police Commission inspector general’s office is aware of the incident, a spokesperson said Monday.
“We will continue monitoring the situation to ensure that if any misconduct occurred, or is alleged, that it is handled appropriately,” spokesperson Julie Buchwald said in a statement.
Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff said he hadn’t been briefed on the incident and would reserve comment until more information is available. He cautioned against rushing to judgment, saying the LAPD has many officers who work in an undercover capacity that might bring them into close contact with gang members.
“On its face, it’s very troubling, but it’s irresponsible to deal with this stuff on its face when there’s more information to uncover,” Soboroff said. “And one [question] would be, is the officer undercover, was he on a mission? And one would be, is he communicating with a gang member who isn’t doing anything wrong?”
Times staff writer Kevin Rector contributed to this report.
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