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From The Signal Archives: Police corruption and unions

Posted: July 9, 2009 7:41 p.m.
Updated: July 10, 2009 4:30 a.m.
Editor’s note: As The Signal celebrates 90 years of service to the Santa Clarita Valley, we offer this peek into the SCV of days past. Following is from the second week of July 2000 in The Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise.

Police scarred by scandal
“A fourth Los Angeles police officer implicated in the Rampart Division corruption probe — the third who lives in the Santa Clarita Valley — was arrested and booked at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Monday afternoon.

“Michael Buchanon, 30, a city of Santa Clarita resident, faces four counts of perjury and one count of obstructing justice in connection with arrests he participated in, in 1996 and 1997.

“In one case, Liddy, Harper and Ortiz conspired to falsely arrest a suspect for possession of a .45 caliber handgun, prosecutors said.

Liddy allegedly rubbed a gun he found in a parking lot against the suspect’s fingers at the LAPD Rampart Station while the suspect was handcuffed.”

White slave girls, demon rum?
 An ironically timed history of SCV law enforcement, which ran as a three-part series finishing days before Rampart indictments were handed down, told the history behind the law of the land in Santa Clarita Valley.

Starting with the opening of the brand-spanking new sub-station on the corner of 6th Street and San Fernando Road, it continued with tales from a more lawless time.

“In the 1930s, the local Sheriff’s Department was involved in a wee bit of an over-response.” It seems that after word of a murder suspect passing through town on a train spread, “besides the three deputies on shift, a mob of more than 100 armed men formed and was waiting at the Saugus train depot. ... It was reported that over 100 shots were fired, many going into the Saugus Cafe.

It seems the gentleman was no kidnapper, but had stolen a car in Bakersfield and thought the impressive mob was for him.

SCV transit labor feud heats up
“The city company that runs the public buses in Santa Clarita put a driver on administrative leave after he went to the City Council with his complaints — prompting the council to take a closer look at ATC-Vancom, the city’s transit operator.”

Increased pay and improved working conditions were the two biggest complaints leveled at the transportation company.

CHP makes big pot bust
“A Lancaster man was arrested by California Highway Patrol officers in Agua Dulce on Wednesday night on suspicion of transportation of marijuana for sales.”

Officers had pulled over to help the owner of an apparently broken-down Chevrolet Beretta on the side of the road. The arresting officers then said they noticed visible signs of intoxication and slurred speech.

“One of the officers then observed a marijuana cigarette burning in the ashtray of the vehicle. ... A further search revealed 9 and one-half pounds of marijuana in a backpack.”

Schools’ water tainted
Officials reported that the wells serving Hart High School and Placerita Junior High were found to be contaminated, “and the circumstances pointed to raw sewage as the culprit.”

“‘Samples taken by the Los Angeles County Health Department last week indicate the water supply is contaminated with coliform bacteria organisms,’ the notices said.”

“Coliform bacterial contamination is often an indicator that raw sewage has seeped into a well, bacteriological experts say.

“Notices were posted on drinking fountains at Hart High School Friday warning students not to drink the water because it is contaminated."
—Perry Smith


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