Burbank police officer on leave amid 'serious' allegations

Another Burbank police officer has been placed on administrative leave following a series of “serious” allegations that could lead to criminal charges, Police Chief Scott LaChasse said Friday.

Officials declined to identify the employee placed on leave Wednesday, citing personnel privacy laws, but the move comes little more than a week after the president of the police union was fired.

It’s the third officer in recent months to be placed on paid leave. One of them, former Burbank Police Officers’ Assn. President Mark Armendariz, was fired late last month for reasons city officials have declined to divulge.

The three cases are unrelated, according to LaChasse.

In the first two cases, the officers were placed on leave after an internal affairs investigation, LaChasse said. But the most recent case is different because the investigation is ongoing, LaChasse said.

“Because of the seriousness of the allegations and the number of allegations, it warranted that the individual be placed on administrative leave now,” he said.

LaChasse was brought on as chief roughly three years ago to reform a department plagued by allegations of excessive force and discrimination. The department remains the subject of a federal grand jury investigation.

Shortly after starting in Burbank, LaChasse terminated 10 sworn personnel for misconduct tied to a 2007 Porto’s robbery investigation. At the time, LaChasse told the Police Commission that he didn't expect any other personnel decisions in the near future.

All but one of the employees appealed their terminations — the majority of which remain pending.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department also conducted investigations into the excessive force allegations involving three of the fired officers and declined to file criminal charges, citing insufficient evidence and witness credibility issues.

-- Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

Follow on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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