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Los Angeles police officer pleads guilty to civil rights violations

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LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A former Los Angeles Police officer pleaded guilty Friday to federal civil rights violations involving a suspect arrested on felony weapons charges, federal authorities announced.

In a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Jon Paul Taylor faces a misdemeanor count of conspiring to frame Victor Tyson after he was arrested for allegedly tossing a steel revolver to the ground during a foot pursuit in 1995, according to court documents.

The charges, although not directly related to the current Rampart corruption scandal, involve similar allegations of police abuse, according to U.S. attorney spokesman Thom Mrozek.

According to the indictment, the officers, responding to a reported burglary, had been chasing two African American men near a South Los Angeles neighborhood. Taylor and his training partner Edward Ruiz falsely testified they had seen Tyson toss a gun to the ground during that pursuit and arrested him on felony weapons charges.

When prosecutors discovered inconsistencies in the testimony of the officers, authorities dropped and case and referred it to federal investigators.

Officer Taylor resigned from the department following an internal investigation while Ruiz pleaded guilty and faces up 10 years in prison.

Taylor, 27, faces six months in prison when he is sentenced in November.

In the Rampart corruption scandal, state and federal authorities are investigating charges that officers from that division engaged in illegal activities ranging from shooting unarmed individuals to fabricating and planting evidence against innocent people.

As many as 70 police in the Rampart Division -- current and former officers -- are under investigation by various state and federal agencies. Nearly 100 convictions from the Rampart Division have been overturned.



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