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Case Name Ochoa v. Los Angeles PN-CA-0049
Docket / Court 2:20-cv-06963 ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Policing
Case Summary
This is a case about harm caused by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) misclassifying residents as gang members or gang associates. On August 2, 2020, five residents of Los Angeles filed this putative class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. They ... read more >
This is a case about harm caused by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) misclassifying residents as gang members or gang associates. On August 2, 2020, five residents of Los Angeles filed this putative class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. They sued the City of Los Angeles under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by attorneys from the Justice X Law Group, the plaintiffs sought damages for harms that arose from being falsely linked to gang activity, including imprisonment, excessive charging, job loss, inability to acquire housing, and loss of access to financial aid for college. Plaintiffs asserted that they were subjected to unnecessary and outrageous searches and seizures that violated the Fourth Amendment; that they were unlawfully confined in violation of the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause; and that the City of Los Angeles was responsible for and complicit in these LAPD policies.

Much of the alleged misconduct in this case arose from section 186.22 of the California Penal Code (CPC). That law enhances sentences for crimes committed in association with a gang. Plaintiffs alleged that, since its inception, officers have abused it by knowingly or recklessly misclassifying people as gang members or gang associates while charging them with minor crimes to support convictions. Plaintiffs alleged they were misclassified for visiting family in a neighborhood with gang-related activity or having a cousin who was an alleged gang member. The magnitude of this abuse became clear in 2016 when, according to plaintiffs' complaint, a state audit found that California’s statewide gang association database (CalGangs) contained abundant “questionable entries and errors such as the inclusion of year-old children.”

The issues of false classifications led to the California Department of Justice suspending CalGangs in June of 2020 and revoking LAPD’s access to it in July of 2020. The L.A. County District Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint against three LAPD officers on July 9, 2020 for conspiring to falsify police reports and fabricate court documents. An LAPD memorandum confirmed that as of July 10, 2020 twenty-four LAPD officers are under investigation for similar charges.

The case is ongoing as of September 13, 2020.

Jack Kanarek - 09/25/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Confinement/isolation
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Failure to discipline
Failure to train
False arrest
Over/Unlawful Detention
Pattern or Practice
Racial profiling
Record-keeping
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of Los Angeles
Plaintiff Description Eight LA residents who were misclassified by the LAPD as gang members or gang associates Three potential classes were identified: (1) Individuals who were subjected to misclassification as gang members in LA City reports; (2) Individuals who were made part of a gang database; and (3) Individuals who were misclassified as gang associates
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 08/02/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
C.D. Cal.
08/27/2020
2:20-cv-06963
PN-CA-0049-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
C.D. Cal.
08/02/2020
Class Action Complaint for Damages [ECF# 1]
PN-CA-0049-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
C.D. Cal.
08/21/2020
Plaintiffs' First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 12]
PN-CA-0049-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Birotte, Andre Jr. (C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
PN-CA-0049-9000
Rosenberg, Alicia G. (C.D. Cal.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PN-CA-0049-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Contreras, Christian (California) show/hide docs
PN-CA-0049-0001 | PN-CA-0049-0002 | PN-CA-0049-9000
Dove, Austin Richard (California) show/hide docs
PN-CA-0049-0001 | PN-CA-0049-0002 | PN-CA-0049-9000
Guizar, Humberto (California) show/hide docs
PN-CA-0049-0001 | PN-CA-0049-0002 | PN-CA-0049-9000
King, Stephen A (California) show/hide docs
PN-CA-0049-0001 | PN-CA-0049-0002 | PN-CA-0049-9000

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