LAPD officers cleared after attorney admits video was fabricated
For Immediate Release
Contact: Eric Rose (805) 624-0572 or
Paul Haney (626) 755-4759
Los Angeles - January 25, 2010 -- In a stunning turn of events, Rafat "Danny" Abdallah, a former gang member, admitted Friday through his attorney that the videotape he had given to his attorney and trumpeted to local media to bolster his claim that LAPD officers had perjured themselves in his gun possession case was fabricated.
"This gang member and his attorney ran to several television stations, including Fox 11, which allowed it to be used to smear officers, by airing a story in November 2009 that the officers had lied about the absence of a license plate on Abdallah's car. Fox 11 aired the fabricated video for its viewing audience as evidence the officers lied. That sensational, headline-grabbing story has now proven to be false, said Paul M. Weber, President of the Los Angeles Police Protective League. To see the Fox story, click here.
"As the officers stated from the day the false allegations surfaced, the Los Angeles Police Protective League is happy to report that the news report was found to be untrue. This convicted felon who was an East Los Angeles 13 gang member had 'produced' a video that showed that his car had a rear license plate on it when stopped by the officers. This contradicted the officer's police report and his basis for probable cause. Deputy District Attorney Deann McCarthy had only hours to rebut this evidence. She contacted SID video analyst Jim Hoerricks at home and he agreed to examine the video before court the next day. His conclusion was that it was fabricated. When confronted with Hoerricks testimony, Abdallah's attorney, James Epstein, retorted that he would get his own expert. The case was continued to allow him to do so.
"Friday, Epstein admitted in court that the tape was fabricated (by unknown persons, he said) and attempted to withdraw it as an exhibit. Deputy District Attorney McCarthy would have none of it. She insisted that it be admitted as evidence of Abdallah's lack of credibility. Ultimately, the fabricated tape was admitted into evidence by Judge Barbara Johnson. Abdullah's motion to suppress a gun found by the officers in the vehicle was denied by the court and he was bound over for trial.
"The defense attorney made a big show for several television stations, including Fox 11, crowing that finally in his 42 years of criminal defense work he had video evidence officers lied. Strangely, Fox news which had been present for the two previous days of the hearing, was absent on Friday.
"The officers involved have needlessly suffered because of the false media coverage of this case. It was only through the efforts of DDA McCarthy and SID analyst Hoerricks that this sensationalized video was proven to be fabricated, and the officer's good names were restored."
About the LAPPL Formed in 1923, the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) represents the more than 9,900 dedicated and professional sworn members of the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPPL serves to advance the interests of LAPD officers through legislative and legal advocacy, political action and education. The LAPPL can be found on the Web at www.LAPD.com