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Los Angeles City Council votes to sue school police officer accused of falsely triggering expensive manhunt

January 28, 2011 |  2:19 pm

Lausd_school_shooting The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to file a lawsuit against the school police officer accused of making up a story about being shot by an assailant near El Camino High School, triggering a vast and expensive police manhunt.

The council unanimously passed an emergency motion to demand that Jeffrey Stenroos, an eight-year veteran of the Los Angeles Unified School District police force, reimburse the city for the costs of the search, which involved not only the Los Angeles Police Department but city traffic officers, the county Sheriff's Department, the California Highway Patrol and the FBI, among others.

"We had thousands of dollars spent on police overtime," said Council President Eric Garcetti, who called the cost of responding to the alleged hoax "appalling" at a time when city workers are going on furlough.

"This wasn’t simply a human mistake by a police officer. This had a real dollar cost," he added.

Police Chief Charlie Beck announced Thursday that Stenroos' story was a hoax. Stenroos was booked on a felony charge of filing a false police report and released on $20,000 bail.

School Supt. Ramon Cortines apologized for the incident, which forced thousands of students to remain on lockdown for hours as law enforcement authorities searched for a shooting suspect.

The lawsuit was proposed by Councilman Dennis Zine, a former police officer.

"We need to send a message that a person who's sworn to protect and serve cannot do this, and there's consequences for that activity," Zine said.


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Officer's story of being shot was inconsistent from the beginning, Chief Beck says

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Photo: Parents stood in line for hours to pick up their children at Hale Middle School in Woodland Hills, which was under lockdown. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times