Lawsuit alleges LAPD 'SWAT Mafia' glamorizes, encourages use of deadly force

A former sergeant alleges LAPD has a "SWAT Mafia" who glamorize the use of deadly force and deride officers who seek peaceful solutions. staff KABC logo
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Lawsuit: LAPD 'SWAT Mafia' promotes use of deadly force
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A former LAPD SWAT sergeant alleges the unit is dominated by senior officers nicknamed the "SWAT Mafia" who glamorize and encourage the use of deadly force and deride officers who seek more peaceful solutions.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A former Los Angeles Police Department SWAT sergeant is suing the department, claiming the unit is run by what he calls a "SWAT Mafia" that encourages the use of deadly force.

Tim Colomey filed the whistleblower lawsuit this week in Los Angeles Superior Court.

He spent more than a decade with the unit.

He's accusing the leadership of the SWAT unit of retaliation against him after he revealed how a group of veteran officers controlled operations and glamorized the use of lethal force.

The LAPD says it has not yet been served the lawsuit and cannot comment on pending litigation.

Among the allegations in the lawsuit:

  • SWAT Mafia members instruct other SWAT officers that the use of deadly force was permissible in situations when LAPD policy clear states that it was not.
  • Officers who choose not to use lethal force in encounters with suspects and instead try to deescalate conflicts are ostracized and called "cowards." They are unlikely to be promoted within the unit.
  • Colomey said after he spoke to Internal Affairs about his concerns, he was alienated within the unit and eventually forced to transfer to the Bomb K-9 division at LAX. The department knows he lives in San Bernardino County and so transferring him to LAX was a subtle form of punishment the lawsuit refers to as "freeway therapy."