LAPD Officers Accused of Extorting Sex from Informants
The Los Angeles Times revealed on Tuesday that two LAPD officers are under investigation for allegedly forcing four women over a time span of four years to commit oral copulation, threatening jail time if they refused.
According to a search warrant affidavit, officers James Nichols and Luis Valenzuela intimidated informants working for them, dating back to November 2008 and continuing through July 2012. They allegedly threatened that if the women didn’t comply with their sexual requests they would send them to jail.
One of their victims claimed that Nichols shackled her in handcuffs and drove her to a secluded setting where, allegedly, he exposed himself and told her, "You don't want to go to jail today, do you?” Case investigators cited reports from local prostitutes that there were other incidents of the patrol officers bribing street walkers for sex in lieu of going to jail.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck is looking into the allegations and indicated an official investigation is underway. So far, no determination has been made as to whether the officers should be fired. As of now, they are suspended without pay. The two alleged offenders have procured counsel, and Officer Nichols' attorney, Robert Rico, protests that the women making the accusations “have no credibility.”