Sunday, December 7, 2014

Police admit planting evidence

Huntington Beach chief says officers routinely employ tactic with civilian vehicles as part of training exercises.


Cindy Yamanaka / Orange County Register

HUNTINGTON BEACH - A Huntington Beach police officer's exoneration for planting a loaded gun in a suspect's car has led to the revelation that police routinely plant evidence in unsuspecting civilians' vehicles for training exercises.

Chief Kenneth Small said Friday that police plant contraband - including unloaded weapons, fake drugs and drug paraphernalia - in suspects' vehicles after they're arrested as a method of training new officers in searches.

The training practice came to light Friday after a Huntington Beach man said he learned that an officer who planted a handgun in his car during a traffic stop was exonerated of wrongdoing. Thomas Cox, who was later convicted of traffic and drug violations, said he watched in horror as another officer found the gun in the trunk of his Hyundai, igniting laughter among officers.

News of the training technique sparked surprise and criticism from police officials across the county, who said planting weapons in civilian vehicles is "inappropriate" and a "bad idea."
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