The names and pictures of undercover cops were given to a technology watchdog organization, which then publicized them online. As a result, the Los Angeles police chief and the department’s director of constitutional policing are now under investigation.
At a police commission hearing on Tuesday, LAPD Chief Michel Moore expressed his “deep apologies” to the undercover officers who had not been informed in advance of the reveal. After a public records request by a reporter for the news outlet Knock LA, the watchdog organization Stop LAPD Spying Coalition revealed more than 9,300 cops’ personal data and images on Friday in a searchable internet database, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Each officer’s name, ethnicity, rank, date of hire, badge number, and division or agency are all listed in the database. How many of the police mentioned have covert positions was not immediately clear. Stop LAPD The Spying Coalition claims that the database should be utilized for countersurveillance instead of police intelligence gathering. The group stated, “You may use it to identify officers who are harming your neighborhood.” “Police operate in secret while having access to a wealth of information about each of us.”
According to the Times, the department’s accidental release of the names and photos of the undercover cops. The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, filed a misconduct complaint against Moore and Liz Rhodes on Monday, prompting the department’s inspector general to open an investigation into their actions.
The AP reports that while the city attorney’s office said the agency was legally compelled to send over the documents in accordance with California law, exemptions are sometimes granted for security or investigational concerns. According to police officials, the images in the database represent a threat to the safety of both current and potential undercover officers. Ben Camacho, a reporter for The Knock LA, tweeted that he had sued and requested the records in order to obtain the photos last year.
He claimed that when the department opposed their release, the subject of officer safety was never brought up. According to a screenshot the journalist published online, a deputy city attorney said in an email to Camacho’s counsel in 2022 that “the only officers they are barring from disclosure are undercover officers, which is typical.”