Over 700 Undercover Cops Sue Los Angeles for ‘Accidentally’ Releasing Their Police Profiles to Anti-Cop Site

Over 700 Undercover Cops Sue Los Angeles for ‘Accidentally’ Releasing Their Police Profiles to Anti-Cop Site

By Stephen Owsinski

Back in March 2023, news broke that more than 9,300 Los Angeles police officers’ detailed identities and respective photo images were “accidentally” released by the city, winding up in possession of an anti-cop site operating with the moniker KillerCop.com, the operator of which put bounties out on law enforcement officers. Remember that horrendous act?

To refresh, Los Angeles-based reporter Gina Silva cited that the LAPD released photos and names of “all the officers” after it received a California Public Records Act request, saying, “the department was forced to do so” and that the distributors of the police identities “weren’t supposed to release the names of undercover officers.”

With that degree of damage done, the anti-police site had “each officer’s name, ethnicity, rank, date of hire, division/bureau, and badge number, as well as [an official police department] photo of the officer,” indicated the Los Angeles Times.

Now, a law firm specializing in representing first responders has formally aggregated over 700 undercover cops among the grossly impacted 9,300-plus LAPD officers betrayed by the city’s and agency’s negligence in safeguarding the identities of law enforcement officers engaged in highly-sensitive police work. We’ll get to that part but first…

To recount the potentially catastrophic nature of this “accidental” ordeal, we turn to Los Angeles police Chief Michael Moore’s statement made to Fox 11 reporters in Los Angeles:

“We made a mistake. We made a big mistake.

“I deeply regret that this mistake happened. I understand personally, given my own death threats and on matters of me as a public figure and my family has endured as a chief and even before that, how troubling this can be to a member of this organization, and even more so to those that are involved in sensitive and/or confidential investigations.”

(Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Police Department.)

Now is an opportune time to elaborate on some crucial mentions of his…

Some of the “sensitive and/or confidential investigations” to which Chief Moore alludes include massively perilous police work targeting heavy hitters such as notoriously violent drug cartels, terrorist cells, and other organized criminal enterprises, all of which likely salivate over discovering juicy details about officers of the law trying to take them down. These evil outfits have vast resources and a vile will to assassinate anyone in their way, made easy by publicized identities of their crimefighting adversaries.

On that note, the police chief continued: “We have people who have taken the list and are now criminally, we believe, making threats against the safety of officers, calling for a bounty, and awarding a bounty for individuals who would go out and kill a cop.”

As such, many ongoing case investigations built by undercover officers had to be ceased immediately, according to the attorney litigating on behalf of the group of cops placed in the reticles of would-be assassins. These halted investigations mean justice on behalf of victims is in limbo due to privacy concerns of those in undercover roles. Several LAPD officers were compelled to move out of their homes and relocate their loved ones elsewhere.

(This makes me reminisce about the doxing encountered by former Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson after two New York Times reporters published his home address for angry mobs to confront him and his wife.)

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) —the police union representing over 9,300 Los Angeles police officers— “filed a formal complaint related to the disclosure [of police officers’ identities] against [Chief] Moore and Lizabeth Rhodes, director of the LAPD’s Office of Constitutional Policing.”

Identity Crisis and Legal Recourse

When all this happened in March, the police union took legal action on behalf of some of its members. LAPPL president and LAPD Detective Jamie McBride said, “This is serious. This is not a mistake. This is reckless.”

On behalf of some of the police union’s thousands of members, the LAPPL filed a lawsuit against the sole individual who presides over the dark website, petitioning the court to order the website containing all cops’ personal information/images be taken down and rule against the wittingly malicious call for cops to be murdered for a reward. Listen to Det. McBride’s interview on the matter:

According to Newsmax reporter Fran Beyer, “In a tweet cited in the lawsuit, Steven Sutcliffe, who posts under the handle @KillerCop1984, allegedly wrote: ‘Remember, #Rewards are double all year for #detectives and #female cops.’

“’ The tweet included an image of a monetary reward for killing an LAPD officer,’ the lawsuit says.”

Per an article/video published by Fox News, Mr. Sutcliffe’s messaging included, “Clean headshots on these #LAPD officers. A to Z.”

Class-Action Lawsuit

The law firm which cemented together a class-action lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and the LAPD personnel who are accused of playing a reckless role in this blunder, essentially foolishly endangering the lives of many Los Angeles law enforcement officers, announced their representation of “more than 700 LAPD undercover officers in a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and LAPD after the officers’ personal information and photos were negligently released and posted on various publicly accessible websites.

“The City of Los Angeles was responding to two California Public Records Act requests that the LAPD had previously refused to comply with. In its response to the records requests of the full and current roster of LAPD sworn police officers, the City of Los Angeles ultimately incorrectly included undercover active-duty police officers and officers with prior undercover assignments.”

Looking at the material timeline posted by the law firm representing undercover LAPD cops, this matter started back in October 2021 when a “freelance journalist” submitted a California Public Records Act request. It went on from there, and now it is being litigated on behalf of imperiled first responders.

“In September 2022, Deputy City Attorney Hasmik Badalian Collins signed a letter,” in response to the soliciting citizen by “providing him with a roster of all active-duty LAPD officers and their photographs, except for any undercover officers.

“However, the letter did not define what undercover included, among other errors. Further, when the City of Los Angeles went to carry out the settlement, it incorrectly produced the complete roster of LAPD officers, including current undercover officers and officers with previous undercover assignments,” the law firm articulated.

Names/personal details and photos of past and present undercover cops in the hands of anyone with an anti-police bone in their body does not bode well for LEOs, requiring cloaking to effectively fulfill their oath of ending violent reigns of figures operating in a dark sphere and preying on innocents (cops included).

Nowadays, “ghosting” is a colloquialism referring to avoiding certain people and potentially grievous circumstances, a concept ordinarily adopted for self-preservation. In the case of undercover cops, it is a necessity for operational success and personal survival.

As a cop, I avoided the camera lens. Lately, many point cell phone cameras at/in cops’ faces. It is a conundrum. For some LEOs, it is not just about impromptu photogs interfering with official police duties (making an arrest) but also the desired future role as an undercover narcotics cop—keeping a low profile is crucial. 700 or so LAPD undercover cops know so…and they had no idea of any betrayal until the damage was done, from within.