Ultraprogressive Los Angeles DA George Gascon loses ‘slam dunk’ trial of officer faking sniper attack

Los Angeles New DA
George Gascon. (Bryan Chan/County of Los Angeles via AP)

Ultraprogressive Los Angeles DA George Gascon loses ‘slam dunk’ trial of officer faking sniper attack

Video Embed

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy who faked getting shot in a sniper attack was convicted of just a single misdemeanor count this week after the prosecutor failed to convince a jury that the lawman had lied to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.

Deputy Angel Reinosa was convicted Tuesday of filing a false police report regarding a shooting he staged in the parking lot of a satellite sheriff’s station. The Aug. 21, 2019, incident resulted in the deployment of helicopters, SWAT teams, and armored vehicles in a massive manhunt that lasted a day and locked down a nearby school.

But Reinosa’s story quickly unraveled when no evidence of a shooting was found. He was charged five months later with two felonies and a misdemeanor. The conviction will result in a maximum of six months in county jail, however nonviolent offenders no longer serve jail time in Los Angeles County.

The case is viewed as a loss by prosecutors in the district attorney’s office and a rebuke of leader George Gascon’s campaign platform of ramping up prosecutions of police officers. This is the second time in four months that the office failed to convict police officers of serious charges. Both cases were handled by new attorneys hired by Gascon from the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office.

LOS ANGELES DA LOSES HIGH PROFILE POLICE PROSECUTION BEFORE TRIAL

Deputy District Attorney Gregory Apt, who prosecuted Reinosa, also contributed $409 to Gascon’s election campaign in 2020, county records show. Apt is also named in a civil service complaint that alleges he lacks the experience to work as a prosecutor.

“Here you have a public defender with his first felony trial as a prosecutor, and he can’t win against a cop for defrauding the sheriff’s department? I can’t think of a more slam dunk case,” a veteran attorney in the district attorney’s office told the Washington Examiner.

“There’s no doubt that he wasn’t shot, that he made this up,” Apt said during closing arguments. “He was trying to save himself from getting demoted. He was trying to go from zero to hero.”

Reinosa’s attorney said his client heard the sound of gunfire and felt pain in his shoulder. But he had no injury, and his story was “a complete lie,” the sheriff’s department said.

“This is exceptionally egregious. You said you were shot when you falsified that? This is not someone you want anywhere near a law enforcement unit,” the veteran prosecutor told the Washington Examiner. “Not only is Reinosa a liar, but he seems like a danger to the police community. By every account, this is a very solid case.”

Gascon has expanded a unit tasked with prosecuting police and hired several attorneys from the public defender’s office to staff it. One of those recruits is John Perroni, whose case against two deputies was dismissed by a judge for lack of evidence before it even reached trial.

In that case, sheriff’s deputies were chasing a gang member who bolted from a car after shots were fired that hit two other deputies. The suspect was knocked to the ground by the deputies’ patrol car door when they caught up to him. The deputies were charged with assault and filing a false police report.

“This happens pretty much almost never,” another prosecutor told the Washington Examiner about that loss in August. “About 99.9% of the time, we win a [preliminary hearing]. I can’t even think about the last time this happened.”

Gascon violated civil service rules by hiring both Perroni and Apt from the public defender’s office when neither had been tested or had prior prosecution experience, according to a complaint filed by Deputy District Attorney Eric Siddall, vice president of the Association of District Attorneys.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

The new hires took positions that normally would have gone to attorneys within the office who were on promotional lists, the complaint noted.

“All contributed monetary support to the Gascon campaign,” the complaint said.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

Related articles

Share article

Latest articles