Thursday, January 17, 2002
Hearing Set for Ex-Rampart Officer Accused in Gang Member Beating
By a MetNews Staff Writer
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A preliminary hearing was set for Feb. 6 after heated disputes over discovery were ironed out yesterday in the case of an ex-Rampart officer accused in the alleged 1998 beating of a reputed gang member.
Charges were filed last March against Ethan Cohan and two other members of Rampart’s anti-gang CRASH unit after disgraced former officer Rafael Perez told Los Angeles Police Department investigators that he and other officers beat up reputed gang member Gabriel Aguirre and then conspired to cover it up.
Cohan is charged with five counts, including assault with a deadly weapon, perjury, filing a false police report and conspiracy. He has pled not guilty.
The two other officers charged in the incident, Shawn Gomez and Manuel Chavez, pled no contest to lesser charges in exchange for prosecutors’ recommendation of probation.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Kellogg told the attorneys it was time to get moving on the Cohan case, which is nearly 10 months old.
“The next time I see all of your smiling faces, I want it to be for testimony,” Kellogg said.
Harland Braun, Cohan’s attorney, presented a list of a half-dozen items that he said he had not been provided by the District Attorney’s Office, including audio tapes of interviews conducted by district attorney investigators with Perez.
Those tapes, along with the times and dates of interviews by district attorney and LAPD investigators, will be provided to the defense by today, Deputy District Attorney Arunas Sodonis, who is the discovery deputy for the case, said.
Braun also requested an 18th Street Gang injunction document signed by Perez, Chavez, Gomez, and another officer implicated in the Aguirre beating, Camerino Mesina. Sodonis said no such document exists.
A complaint filed by an attorney against the LAPD over lost photos in the Aguirre matter, records of all officers subpoenaed to court in the original People v. Aguirre matter, and interviews by district attorney and LAPD investigators of Mesina, Chavez and Gomez after the officers agreed to cut a deal with the District Attorney’s Office do not exist, District Attorney Ron Goudy told the court.
Aguirre skipped bail and therefore subpoenas were never issued for the case and no interviews were conducted with the officers after deals were agreed to, Goudy said. The LAPD also claims that the complaint over the photo does not exist, he said.
“Everything else is ready to go,” Sodonis said.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company