LAPD captain sues over gun store scandal

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

The LAPD has issues right now. In fairness, they probably have a lot of issues, most of which I’m not interested in getting into at the moment. One particular issue they have revolves around their recent scandal involving the LAPD Police Academy gun store.

If you can’t trust the police, just who can you trust, right?

As I’ve said elsewhere, police aren’t any different than the public they serve. You’ve got dedicated officers committed to the law and doing what’s right and you’ve got some who are absolutely scumbags with most lying somewhere in between.

However, one LAPD officer is fighting back at the implications against him.

A high-ranking Los Angeles police captain has sued the city of L.A. and the nonprofit gun store that operates out of its police academy, alleging he was unjustly “swept up” in an embarrassing gun theft scandal due to their collective negligence and malfeasance.

Capt. Jonathan Tom, commanding officer of the LAPD’s West L.A. division, claimed in a lawsuit filed jointly with his wife, Yoomi, in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday that his personal and professional reputations were tarnished, and his career prospects unfairly dimmed, when investigators ignored evidence that he was a victim in the wider scandal and instead pursued him as a suspect — including by raiding his Long Beach home in February in what his lawsuit called “an outrageous show of force.”

Tom and his wife, a retired police officer who was home with their young son at the time of the raid, claimed the raid and the broader investigation subjected them to humiliation, emotional distress and substantial financial losses without any justification, and are seeking more than $5 million in damages.

“This is a terrible ordeal that the family went through with this raid,” said Bradley Gage, the Toms’ attorney. “It really was not justified.”

I’m sure it was upsetting, and this is just the most recent lawsuit brought about by officers who claim they were unjustly included in the investigation.

For what it’s worth, the LAPD provided evidence to investigators regarding a number of officers who they believed received stolen guns, though prosecutors declined to press charges claiming there was insufficient evidence.

So do these officers have a shot in hell of winning?

If there is, expect a lot of other people who have been raided by the LAPD but never prosecuted to start filing lawsuits as well.

See, police officers aren’t a protected class. They don’t get a special set of rules from the rest of us. If they can win in court for being investigated then so can other people.

Frankly, though, I don’t see how they win. So long as there was probable cause for the investigation, I seriously doubt a court is going to side with them on something like this, particularly since it would create a chilling effect on police investigations for other crimes.

Captain Tom has my sympathies, as do the other officers who were caught up in this, assuming they actually did nothing wrong. However, I don’t think they end up winning this one.