LOS ANGELES — Mayor Richard Riordan issued a stern warning Wednesday to street gangs that have issued a bounty for the wounding or killing of Rampart station police officers.
“These are men and women in our police department who wear their blue in pride and put their lives on the line every day of the year,” Riordan said.
“And I can tell these gang members who have made these threats that if they carry out one threat, I will spend the rest of my life helping capture you and helping punish you.”
The mayor made his remarks Wednesday during a press conference to announce his endorsement in the city’s upcoming mayoral election.
Rampart officers have been on heightened alert since the threats were first uncovered about two weeks ago.
“We’ve heard of $10,000 for an injury to an officer and $25,000 for the death of an officer,” Rampart Capt. Michael Moore, a station commander, said Tuesday.
Moore said the threats have not affected the way officers patrol the community of about 350,000 people.
“They wanna make threats, they can make ’em. A threat is one thing, but to try to accomplish that threat is another thing,” added Rampart Sgt. Patrick McCarty, who said the threats are not new.
“We’ve had them in the past. We’re just going to be on alert as always.”
The street gang threats were the latest cloud to hover over Rampart.
Former Officer Rafael Perez, the central figure in the city’s worst police corruption scandal, told of misdeeds by fellow anti-gang officers in exchange for a lighter sentence for stealing cocaine from an evidence room.
Perez claims members of the station’s anti-gang unit allegedly robbed, beat, framed and shot suspects over a period of several years in the mid- to late 1990s.
But residents in the gritty neighborhood just west of downtown remained appreciative.
“If it wasn’t for police we wouldn’t be able to walk the streets,” Jose Canales told KCBS-TV.