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Woman Brings Claim Against City, Alleging Former LAPD Assistant Chief Put Tracking Device on Her Car

While on a trip with friends in September, the plaintiff discovered an Apple Airtag in a black box attached to the undercarriage of her vehicle, the claim states. Her friend scanned the Airtag and found that the serial number and owner information matched the last four digits of former Assistant Chief Alfred Labrada's city cellphone, according to her claim.

4:41 PM PST on December 5, 2023

Blue police lights

Photo: Max Fleischmann/Unsplash

A female LAPD officer who alleges she was harassed by a commanding officer who was formerly a boyfriend, and who placed a physical tracker on her car, then discriminated and retaliated against her after she filed a report about the device, brought a government claim against the city today.

Despite assurances that the unidentified woman's internal complaint, and the investigation findings regarding ex-Assistant Chief Alfred Labrada would be kept confidential, the claimant was subjected to harassment as word of the complaint leaked around the department, prompting her to take a medical leave, the claim states.

"Regardless of the former romantic relationship between my client and Chief Labrada, surreptitiously tracking someone's location is illegal--you can't put an electronic dog collar on a person," claimant's attorney Matthew McNicholas said.

"As a result of her reporting the unlawful tracking, she has been subjected to repeated victim blaming and retaliation by the officers in the department."

A claim is a possible forerunner of a lawsuit. A representative for the City Attorney's Office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Labrada and his attorney have both denied any wrongdoing. The pair held a news conference last month in which Labrada strongly denied the allegation and lashed out at his treatment by the LAPD following the allegations.

"I am genuinely disappointed in the leadership of the department who, after three decades of service, have not once reached out or called me to check on my well-being or that of my family," Labrada said at the time. "What should have been a private matter became a public spectacle because of my title and employment with LAPD."

According to the damages claim, within days of filing the complaint with the LAPD's Internal Affairs Division, the claimant plaintiff received text messages from colleagues asking if the rumors that Labrada had stalked her were true. Such information could only have come from Internal Affairs, who assured the plaintiff that they would keep the investigation masked, according to the claim.

Labrada was director of the Office of Special Operations and was considered a potential internal candidate by some to replace Chief Michel Moore. Labrada and the plaintiff began a consensual relationship in 2017 and filed for a domestic partnership with the LAPD in 2021. But the claimant ended the relationship in June.

While on a trip with friends in September, the plaintiff discovered an Apple Airtag in a black box attached to the undercarriage of her vehicle, the claim states. Her friend scanned the Airtag and found that the serial number and owner information matched the last four digits of Labrada's city cellphone, the claim states.

The claimant filed a confidential report with the Ontario Police Department rather than the LAPD due to Labrada's high rank within the organization, according to the claim, which further states the plaintiff then notified LAPD as she is required to do because she had contact with an outside agency to file a police report.

LAPD officers later went to the claimant's home to gather a statement
and scan the Airtag, but the scan showed that Labrada's information had been
wiped from the device and the plaintiff believes that Labrada was quickly
notified of her report, the claim states.

During an IA interview, the claimant was continuously questioned about her relationship with Labrada and asked whether she had done something to justify the placement of the Airtag on her vehicle. The claimant was unrepresented during the hearing and she was not told she was entitled to representation during the interview, an alleged violation of Peace Officer Bill of Rights, the claim states.

About two weeks after the claimant's initial report, a search warrant showed that the Airtag was registered to Labrada, prompting the LAPD to assign Labrada to home duty, the claim states. Labrada also has been demoted to the rank of commander.

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