Three Los Angeles police officers are reportedly suing the owner of an anti-police website, accusing him of publishing their photos and putting out a "bounty" on them.
It's the first legal action stemming from the Los Angeles Police Department's release of the names and photos of more than 9,300 officers — including some who work undercover — as part of a public records request, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
An anti-cop group posted the cops' pictures March 17, the news outlet reported.
The lawsuit by the Los Angeles Police Protective League on behalf of officers Adam Gross, Adrian Rodriguez, and Douglas Panameno asks that the photos and other identifying information be taken down from the website KillerCop.com.
In a tweet cited in the lawsuit, Steven Sutcliffe, who posts under the handle @KillerCop1984, allegedly wrote: "Remember, #Rewards are double all year for #detectives and #female cops." the news outlet reported.
The tweet included an image of a monetary reward for killing an LAPD officer, the lawsuit says.
A later tweet allegedly included a link to a database of officer photos, along with the caption, "Clean head-shots on these #LAPD officers. A to Z," the LA Times reported.
"It's malicious," Sutcliffe told the LA Times about the suit. "It's retaliatory. It is vindictive and frivolous. Their motion is filled with lies. They are trying to silence my free speech. The truth cannot be retaliatory. It is First Amendment protected speech."
The cops' data release was made in response to a request from a journalist for the nonprofit Knock LA newsroom that was then posted by Stop LAPD Spying Coalition — which wants to abolish traditional law enforcement, the LA Times reported.
The "Watch the Watchers" database includes each officer's name, ethnicity, rank, date of hire, division/bureau and badge number, as well as a photo of the officer, the LA Times reported.
After the release, LAPD department leaders revealed they'd inadvertently included photos of undercover cops. The LA Times, citing unnamed sources, said the release involves dozens, "if not hundreds" of undercover officers.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the news outlet he supports efforts to have the photos taken down from Sutcliffe's website, adding the department was investigating whether the "solicitation for violence against officers" was criminal in nature.
"The posts, the nature of the posts, they're not just intimidation," he told the LA Times. "They're threatening, and they may constitute a crime. This is one of those things that I worried about and feared when we released these photographs ostensibly to be transparent, that others were going to use them to threaten our officers.
"We erred in the sense that there's photographs that are in there that should not have been in there," he added, noting to the LA Times that "What I find concerning is that as I feared ... actors or individuals who are now taking this information and attempting to intimidate or scare and frighten."
Tom Saggau, a spokesperson for the Police Protective League, which represents rank-and-file officers, told the LA Times the league plans to pursue legal action against the city and the LAPD. Dozens of undercover officers are expected to bring a class-action lawsuit against the department, lawyers for those cops told the news outlet.
"It's the city's screw-up that disclosed information that should have never been disclosed, and other sites are exploiting that information and putting bounties on cops' heads," Saggau told the news outlet.
Fran Beyer ✉
Fran Beyer is a writer with Newsmax and covers national politics.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.