Friday, June 9, 2023
HomeUS NewsUndercover LAPD detective is shot at on 110 Freeway

Undercover LAPD detective is shot at on 110 Freeway

A gunman opened fire Tuesday morning on a Los Angeles police detective working in an undercover surveillance unit that was tracking a potential suspect on the 110 Freeway, authorities said.

LAPD Capt. Kelly Muniz said the detective was in a vehicle traveling on the 110 near Gage Avenue in South Los Angeles when gunfire erupted about 10:45 a.m.

The shooting was not related to the person being tracked, and the detective — who was dressed to blend in with civilians and had no outward indications he was a police officer — was not injured, Muniz said. The unmarked vehicle, however, was struck by gunfire, she said.

Although Muniz declined to identify the detective’s unit, two law enforcement sources not authorized to discuss the shooting said he is part of the Special Investigation Section of the Robbery-Homicide Division, which tracks potential suspects in violent, often serial, crimes.

Muniz said two suspects have been taken into custody in connection with the shooting, although no one has been booked yet.

A motive has yet to be determined, authorities said.

Despite no immediate evidence to support it, speculation spread quickly among LAPD personnel as to whether the detective’s cover may have been revealed by the recent online publication of a database of LAPD photos that includes those working in the Special Investigation Section, or SIS.

Attorneys for the city filed a lawsuit in April against Knock LA journalist Ben Camacho and the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, saying the release of the officers’ names, photos and serial numbers in response to a public records request and related litigation was “inadvertent.”

They argued that publication of the images of officers who serve in undercover assignments posed a safety risk. After receiving the photos, Camacho provided them to the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, which published them online in an accessible database.

In one of several declarations filed by the city, LAPD Capt. Jonathan Tippet, who oversees the Robbery-Homicide Division, wrote that the publication had exposed the photos of undercover officers, including those in the SIS unit. Tippet said the images “permanently endangered the lives of the officers” and “jeopardize the investigation of significant criminal cases.”

Lawyers for the Camacho have called it a “thinly veiled attempt to silence” him and other journalists who report on law enforcement and “shield the Los Angeles Police Department from any measure of accountability and transparency.”

A judge last month rejected an initial effort by the city of Los Angeles to force the return of more than 9,000 photos and names of LAPD officers by rejecting a request for a temporary restraining order that would have prevented Camacho and the watchdog group from doing anything with the data.

The judge said that the case was essentially about prior restraint and that the city would need to address it and wider 1st Amendment issues before any decisions would be made.

This story originally appeared on LA Times

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