(MintPress) – Whistleblower Armando Perez, a veteran police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), testified in an ongoing investigation against his colleagues claiming officers engaged in illegal weapons trading, an allegation that could be a violation of federal firearms laws and ethics regulations. The alleged arms trafficking was uncovered during a regular weapons inventory and investigations revealed hundreds of missing guns thought to be resold to illegal arms dealers.
The issue is a salient one in the wake of the Chris Dorner shootout earlier this month. Dismissed by some as the rantings of a mentally unstable individual, officer Chris Dorner sought to expose criminal activity and racism within the LAPD.
Perez has become the latest whistleblower to expose possible criminal activity inside the LAPD following a two-week manhunt that lead to the death of former Officer Dorner earlier this month. Dorner, a 33-year-old former Navy officer exposed repeated crimes within his department over nearly a decade.
The officer filed a suit against the department in 2012, seeking lost wages and compensation for “physical and emotional injuries,” after being threatened by fellow officers when he audited possible illicit dealings of his department in 2010. The LAPD has conducted internal reviews following the allegations but has yet to discipline any officers.
Perez joined the LAPD in 1987 and claims that he was suspended and threatened while serving as “officer in charge of the armory.”
A May 2010 complaint filed with the department states, “While performing the weapons audit, plaintiff learned that both officers within the unit and civilians were purchasing special LAPD SWAT-stamped Kimber firearms intended for official use.”
Kimber is a weapons manufacturer that sells arms to the LAPD at a steep discount. Many of these arms bearing the “LAPD SWAT” insignia were resold by officers for a profit. Weapons sold to police for $600 could fetch between $1,600 and $3,500 on the black market.
The issue resonates in the aftermath of the Chris Dorner shootout earlier this month in Big Bear, Calif.
Dorner wrote about an incident August 2007 when he reported an officer for physically assaulting a suspect, a clear use of excessive force Dorner observed while he was assigned as a patrol officer to the LAPD’s Harbor Division.
Dorner writes, “While cuffing, the officer kicked the suspect twice in the chest and once in the face. The kick to the face left a visible injury on the left cheek below the eye. Unfortunately after reporting it to supervisors and investigated by PSB (internal affairs) nothing was done.”
Like Perez, Dorner was ostracized and threatened by his colleagues. Instead of seeking to reform the department, the LAPD has attacked the whistleblowers rather than any responsible criminals within the department.