Raphael DeLeon : LA County Prosecutors Dismiss Gun Charge Against Man After Corruption Scandal Compromises Case

Death – Obituary – Accident and Crime News : Los Angeles County prosecutors have dropped a gun possession charge against a man due to the latest corruption scandal involving the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Mission Division. Raphael DeLeon was stopped by officers from the scandal-plagued gang unit and charged with having a concealed unregistered firearm in a vehicle. However, during a preliminary hearing, DeLeon’s attorney argued that the gun was recovered during an illegal stop. Prosecutors subsequently dropped the case because three of the officers involved in the stop were unavailable to testify due to an ongoing investigation.

DeLeon’s attorney, Ninaz Saffari, believes that her client was pulled over because of his race. She stated, “Latino guy driving around, and basically police officers were going on a fishing expedition and they say let’s pull this guy over.” Saffari sees this as a pattern of conduct and believes the officers got caught this time.

Saffari filed a motion before the hearing, arguing that the gun charge should be thrown out because the officers had no probable cause to search DeLeon’s car. She also criticized the officers for delaying the activation of their body-worn cameras, ensuring that there was no video evidence of her client’s alleged traffic violations or the “furtive movement” that officers claimed DeLeon made while reaching for a gun. DeLeon denied both allegations.

This case is one of potentially 350 criminal cases that are compromised due to the involvement of two Mission gang officers, according to anonymous sources. The LAPD’s internal investigation, which has been ongoing for nearly a year, has uncovered various misconduct, including inappropriate stops and misuse of body-worn cameras.

Prosecutors will now have to weigh whether they have enough evidence to proceed with pending cases and potentially revisit prior convictions or guilty pleas that relied on the testimony of officers tainted by the scandal.

Up to 15 officers from the Mission Division are under suspicion, and the department has declined to identify them. Two officers suspected of misconduct have already been sent to face a disciplinary panel, while the remaining officers have been assigned home or placed on restrictive duties.

In the case of Raphael DeLeon, the charges were dropped on procedural grounds, and the recovered “ghost gun” was ordered to be destroyed. DeLeon’s attorney argues that the search was illegal, based on a hunch rather than legitimate facts, and that the evidence should be considered “the fruit of a poisonous tree.”

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