L.A. Confidential, for Real

Street cops accused of frame-ups in widening scandal

By the end of last week, the scandal swirling around the Los Angeles Police Department was being called the city's worst since the 1930s. But the bad cops of that era, who took bribes of French champagne from madams and cash from bootleggers and gamblers, almost seem like nostalgic Humphrey Bogart types compared with the officers who ruined the life of a 19-year-old kid named Javier Francisco Ovando.

In 1997 a judge sent Ovando to prison for 23 years after two anti-gang squad members, who had allegedly shot him multiple times, claimed he had threatened them with a rifle. L.A.P.D. partners...

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