Inmate Freed As Officer Admits To Framing Him

Ovando Had Already Spent 2 Years In State Prison

LOS ANGELES, Calif., Posted 11:05 p.m. September 15, 1999 — A man is free Thursday as the two LAPD officers who shot him, paralyzed him, and sent him to prison are being investigated for their involvement in a police crime ring.

One of the officers has already confessed to the frame-up, CBS 2 News reported.

Javier Ovando, who was 19 in 1996 when he was left paralyzed during the shootout with the officers, was released today, the television station said.

He had spent two years at the Salinas Valley State Prison, where he was sentenced to serve more than 23 years.

His girlfriend and mother-in-law were awaiting for his arrival Thursday evening at the Los Angeles International Airport, hoping to reunite him with his two-year-old daughter whom he has never met. But because Ovando is an illegal immigrant, authorities are holding him until a federal deportation hearing and are not disclosing his location.

Prosecutors allege that the police who testified against Ovando “framed” him by planting a rifle on the unarmed man after the shooting.

The District Attorney’s Office said Officer Rafael Perez (pictured above) and his then-partner, Nino Durden, may have lied under oath by testifying that he burst in on them with a semiautomatic rifle complete with a military-style “banana clip.”

Perez, who is now serving time for stealing eight pounds of cocaine from a Parker Center evidence locker, has made a plea bargain agreement that may implicate as many as 11 other police officers in other crimes, a local news wire service reported.

“He has given us some significant information that causes us some concern as it relates to activities that he was involved with prior to his arrest. We’re looking at both criminal and administrative allegations,” Police Chief Bernard Parks said during a news conference. “They could have some drug implications.”

Parks announced Thursday night that 11 officers, including Durden, have been suspended with pay as a result of the allegations Perez made in his plea bargain.

Further details of the deal Perez cut on Sept. 8 were sealed by a judge, pending the ex-officer’s sentencing Oct. 22.

The investigation centers on the Rampart station, which serves an area west of downtown Los Angeles, including the drug-infested Pico-Union district. Parks said the investigation will be expanded if necessary.

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