Over 300 of the impacted officers took legal action in April, alleging the city "incorrectly produced the complete roster of LAPD officers, including current undercover officers and officers with previous undercover assignments" when asked for information via two California Public Records Act requests.
"The City of Los Angeles' reckless production of the undercover officers' identities does irreparable damage to these individuals – their lives, careers and ongoing investigations are at risk," said Matthew McNicholas, partner at the firm representing 321 undercover LAPD officers whose information was leaked.
"The City of Los Angeles and LAPD have a duty of care to their employees and should have had appropriate safeguards in place to ensure nothing like this ever happened. They need to face responsibility for their catastrophic negligence."
LAPD Chief Michel Moore has launched an investigation into the matter.
The first CPRA request was submitted in October 2021 by independent journalist Ben Camacho. When the LAPD refused to comply, given the scope of the information being sought, he took legal action, and eventually, Deputy City Attorney Hasmik Badalian Collins signed off on the release of headshots of all active-duty LAPD officers. When the city fulfilled the request, however, it "incorrectly produced the complete roster of LAPD officers, including current undercover officers and officers with previous undercover assignments."
The information ended up on watchthewatchers.net and killercop.com, two prominent anti-police websites.
As the LA Daily News reports, three officers whose details ended up on killercop.com sued the man behind the website alongside their union, the LA Police Protective League, alleging he inflicted "intentional" emotional distress and endangered their lives.
"He essentially put a bounty on the lives of police officers," attorney Jacob Kalinski said. "My clients, they go to bed at night and they’re in fear for their safety. It is the goal of this lawsuit to have Mr. Sutcliffe's threats removed from Twitter or from wherever else so that there are no individuals out there who act upon (his) promise to pay people essentially to kill police officers."
While the man behind killercop.com, Steven Sutcliffe, has since had his Twitter account removed, the site is still active.
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