Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck Tuesday strongly denied his agency is doctoring violent crime statistics, calling claims by one of his captains that the department is misleading the public on crime rates "lies."
"They're not only lies, they're damn lies," Beck told reporters.
"Both the department and the inspector general have looked into similar claims as this over the last several years and found no wrongdoing," the chief said.
Beck was responding to allegations made by LAPD Capt. Lillian Carranza, who filed a legal claim against the city last week and held a news conference with her attorney Monday, accusing the department of engaging in an "elaborate cover-up" to make violent crime rates appear lower than they really are.
"This piece of deception was done specifically to fool the public and elected officials as to the true state of crime in the city of Los Angeles," Carranza said. "The department then engaged in a highly complex and elaborate cover-up in an attempt to hide the fact that command officers had been providing false figures to the public, attempting to convince the public that crime had not significantly increased."
Carranza claims she has been alerting her superiors about discrepancies in violent crime rates for four years, and says she was passed over for a promotion because of it.
She said she first told superiors about underreporting of violent crime in the LAPD's Foothill area, but after no action was taken, she also reviewed reports and found similar issues in the Pacific, Central, Hollenbeck and Mission divisions.
Beck insisted the department's numbers are accurate, saying the agency is continuously reviewing its figures to ensure they are correct.
"If I'm cooking the books, I'm not doing a very good job, because we are up a little over 4 percent in violent crime,'' Beck said. "If I wanted to cook the books, believe me, we would not be up in violent crime."