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3 LAPD officers say they didn't lie under oath

October 8, 2009 |  8:35 pm


Three current and former Los Angeles Police Department officers accused of lying in court during a drug possession case pleaded not guilty today to perjury and conspiracy charges.

The charges rely heavily on video footage that appears to sharply contradict the testimony the officers gave about their arrest of Guillermo Alarcon at his East Hollywood apartment complex. But lawyers for the officers said the video was edited and omits key portions of the arrest that would have shown that their clients told the truth in court.

“We intend to prove that it was either deleted or purposely altered,” said defense attorney Robert Rico.

The drug charge against Alarcon was dismissed last year and a judge declared him “factually innocent” after his defense attorney produced the video during trial.

Two of the officers had testified that they saw Alarcon throw an object that split open to reveal crack and powder cocaine. The quality of the tape is poor but shows a group of officers searching for more than 20 minutes before one announces that drugs have been found.

Defense attorney Ira Salzman said the video missed his client picking up narcotics immediately after the arrest.

“That’s the perils of videotape testimony,” he said. “The video doesn’t tell the entire story.”

—Jack Leonard

Photo: Los Angeles police officers Manuel Ortiz, second from left, Evan Samuel, center, and Richard Amio, second from right, listen to Los Angeles County Superior Court Commissioner Donald S. Kennedy as they are arraigned on perjury and conspiracy charges. With them are Ortiz's attorney, Paul De Pasquale, left, and Amio's attorney, Robert Rico, right.

Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times