David Rojas is the LAPD officer who is accused of fondling the breasts of a dead woman and accidentally recording it on a body- camera video while responding to an overdose call.
Rojas was arrested on Dec. 12 and charged with one felony count of violating the California Health & Safety Code. Bail has been set at $20,000.
In a statement prior to Rojas’ arrest, the Los Angeles Police Protective League said,
“If this allegation is true, then the behavior exhibited by this officer is not only wrong, but extremely disturbing, and does not align with the values we, as police officers, hold dear and these values include respect and reverence for the deceased. This behavior has no place in law enforcement.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Rojas Is a Four-Year Veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department
According to LA-based reporter Andrew Blankstein, Rojas is a four-year veteran of the force. He worked with the LAPD’s Central Division at the time of the incident.
Rojas is 27 years old, according to CBS Local.
2. Rojas Is Accused of Fondling the Breasts of a Dead Woman During a House Call
Per CBS Local, Rojas is accused of fondling the breasts of a deceased woman during a house call he made on Oct. 20 with his partner, related to an apparent overdose. Rojas’ partner’s identity has not been revealed, not have there been any allegations leveled against his partner.
According to the news network, Rojas and his partner, also a male, responded to the call, and together they confirmed the woman was dead. Then, Rojas’ partner reportedly went to the car to get the proper paperwork, and Rojas was left alone with the body.
It was at this point, according to LAPD officials, that Rojas allegedly turned off his body-cam and fondled the woman’s body. However, a two-minute buffer on the device allowed the footage to be recorded anyways.
3. Rojas Was Placed on Leave After the Body Camera Footage Was Discovered
According to the news network, Chief Michel Moore and the LAPD union implemented a new protocol a month earlier, in which the LAPD had the right to randomly check body-cam footage. After the footage was discovered, Rojas was placed on leave.
The LAPD learned of the conduct on Nov. 11. Rojas was assigned to home duty shortly after.
As for the body-camera footage, it’s never going to be released to the public. Although the Police Commission voted last year to release any body-camera footage of a “critical incident” to the public within 45 days, the department has not classified this incident as a “critical incident,” according to ABC7.
4. Leaders of the LAPD Union Have Said They Will Not Criminally Defend Rojas
On Dec. 4, just over a week before Rojas was identified as the officer in question, leaders of the Los Angeles Police Protection League, the union that represents officers criminally, confirmed that the organization would not defend whoever was charged.
Per KTLA, Lt. Craig Lally, the union’s president, said that the allegation was “reprehensible, repugnant,” and that if the allegations were true, the officer would have “has no place in law enforcement.”
Lally went on to confirm that “the Los Angeles Police Protective League will not defend this officer in a criminal proceeding.”
5. The LAPD Union Has Since Apologized to the Dead Woman’s Family
On Dec. 4, Lt. Lally publicly apologized to the family of the deceased woman, whose identity has been kept private.
“We want the family to know this alleged behavior is repugnant, reprehensible and indefensible,” he said. “We are sorry for the pain this has caused you.”
This is a developing post.