Maywood police officials react to attorney general's scathing report

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Alex Cohen talks to KPCC's Frank Stoltze on Maywood officials' reaction to the release of California Attorney General Jerry Brown's scathing report on the Maywood Police Department.

Alex Cohen: Today, California Attorney General Jerry Brown issued a scathing report on the police department in Maywood. Maywood's a small city southeast of downtown L.A. It employs about 40 officers. Here's a bit of what Jerry Brown had to say.

Jerry Brown: There were widespread abuses, there was gross misconduct, Tasering of the citizens, young citizens. There were arrests without probable cause, stopping people.

I mean, this was a mess. And we're going to go to court, we're going to go an order allowing the Attorney General's Office to provide oversight and make sure this department shapes up.

Cohen: KPCC's Frank Stoltze is in Maywood, and he joins us now live. And Frank, what has the reaction been from city officials there?

Frank Stoltze: Well, city officials immediately called a news conference for this afternoon. And Police Chief Frank Hauptmann was there. He's been chief just since last February.

He says he's not surprised by the attorney general's report, and that changes are already underway at the Maywood Police Department, in training officers, in supervising officers, and in hiring practices. He also said that seven officers have left the department in the last year and a half, either forced out or fired under his new leadership.

Cohen: As we heard, the attorney general says that they're going to head to court, so what next for the city of Maywood?

Stoltze: Well, the city of Maywood says they wouldn't necessarily be opposed to oversight by the attorney general. Of course, they said the devil's in the details.

They'd be concerned about how much any consent decree under court supervision might cost them. Such a decree has cost the city of Los Angeles a lot in reforming the LAPD, but they said they're open to the supervision of the attorney general.

Cohen: And Frank, real briefly here, did you get a chance to speak with any local residents?

Stoltze: I did. Humberto Herrera, he was one of the alleged victims of police abuse. He said that the department has actually improved. He was beat up, he said, in 2005, but that since then, he's seen a marked improvement in the Maywood Police Department.

Cohen: Thank you so much.