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Updated: FBI and U.S. Justice Dept. decline to file charges in BPD probe

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Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Porto's Bakery & Cafe 3614 West Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G — Porto’s Bakery & Cafe 3614 West Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank

After extensive investigations into the now infamous 2007 Porto’s Bakery robbery in Burbank, the FBI and the U.S. Department have declined to file charges against any police personnel. In 2009, The Feds began looking into allegations of excessive force and civil rights violation by Burbank police involved in the investigation of that robbery.

Late yesterday, Burbank Police Chief, Scott LaChasse, sent out a letter about the Feds’ decisions to his department. The letter is posted on the Burbank Police website .

During public comments at last night’s Burbank City Council meeting, activist, Mike Nolan, requested the chief’s letter be read “out loud’ to let  “…the people have the information in a timely manner.” Chief LaChasse stepped to the podium and read the letter.

LaChasse thanked members of his department for their “patience and professionalism” during the six-year probe by the Feds: “As the FBI conducted its investigation, we remained steadfast in our sworn mission to protect and serve our community with honor. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made. The shadow that had been cast on the department has been lifted.” Well, that shadow may have been lifted, but a cloud still hangs over the BPD.

Chief LaChasse fired 9 officers  and former Deputy, Chief William”Bill” Taylor, in connection with alleged abuses surrounding that robbery investigation. Many of those former Burbank cops have been waging legal battles with the city over their firings. In his letter the chief admitted to mistakes: “As an organization, we are rapidly moving forward and learning from out mistakes through our commitment to continuous improvement.”  If these firings are among the mistakes, as many have said, it’s time to fess up to them, correct them either by reinstating the officers and/or resolving the lawsuits.

I agree with Chief LaChasse it’s time to move forward. However, before that can happen, it’s necessary to take care of some unfinished business.

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