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criminal LAPD officer?

by paco Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2002 at 9:54 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A police officer suspected of committing a series of armed robberies and stealing money from drug dealers had been arrested at least five times before he was even hired by the Police Department, court records show.

LAPD officer under investigation had criminal record before hire

January 22, 2002 Posted: 3:20 PM EST (2020 GMT)

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A police officer suspected of committing a series of armed robberies and stealing money from drug dealers had been arrested at least five times before he was even hired by the Police Department, court records show.

Officer William Ferguson, 30, was arrested four times on suspicion of theft and burglary as a juvenile, including once by the LAPD, which later hired him in 1996, records show. Juvenile court records that would show the outcome of those arrests are not available to the public.

A 1991 arrest when Ferguson was an adult resulted in a misdemeanor conviction for attempted burglary and three years' probation, court records show.

Department spokesman Lt. Horace Frank said any felony conviction _ even a conviction as a juvenile -- would bar a person from getting hired. Misdemeanor convictions or arrests would not automatically disqualify someone. Frank would not comment further, citing an investigation.

"It appears to me that there was a breakdown in the screening process," said Mitzi Grasso, president of the Police Protective League, the police union. "It's a problem that the department, the league and the city have been wrestling with for some time."

Ferguson and Officer Ruben Palomares, 32, are now being investigated for allegedly committing a series of home-invasion robberies and stealing narcotics and money from drug dealers. Both men have been suspended without pay. Neither has been charged. Their attorneys have denied the allegations.

Palomares was arrested in June after allegedly trying to buy more than 20 pounds of cocaine from an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent. He is also a suspect in a 1999 homicide.

Numerous complaints have been filed against Ferguson, who has been investigated on allegations that he framed suspects, planted evidence and intimidated a witness.

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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