LAPD sued by 5 residents who claim they were wrongfully labeled gang members

The LAPD and Chief Michel Moore face a lawsuit after five Angelenos allege they were wrongfully classified as gang members.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Police Department and Chief Michel Moore face a lawsuit from five Angelenos who say their lives were ruined by a group of police officers.

The class-action complaint accuses LAPD of wrongfully classifying people as gang members.

"These things have been happening for years and years and years, and the consequences are devastating," said Austin Dove of Justice X Law Group at a news conference. "Individual lawyers have tried to fight it as best they can, but the system is bigger than them. Now we're here to fight back."

Sara Ochoa is a former corrections officer who says she was arrested while mourning at a crime scene where a family member was killed.

She says she was unknowingly labeled as a gang member, and a year later she was fired as a corrections officer.

"Sacrificed my family for my career in corrections and to have it taken away from me is not right," Ochoa said. "We need to bring this to light, the injustices committed by LAPD."

"Imagine that. You're standing on the corner, mourning the loss of a loved one that was killed and they call you a gang member and they handcuff you," attorney Christian Contreras said. "And you're a law enforcement officer. That is the extent of how bad this is."

The class-action complaint claims LAPD routinely mislabeled people and placed them in the CalGang database program.

Lawyers from Justice X Law Group say the gang affiliation potentially prevented hundreds of innocent people from getting jobs, finding a place to live or getting financial assistance.

The LAPD is no longer part of the CalGang database program and all LAPD records in that system are no longer accessible to any agency.

The LAPD says they do not comment on pending litigation.
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