The LAPD moved Thursday against two Hollywood area narcotics officers suspected of forcing women into their unmarked car and driving to secluded areas for sex, the LA Times reports. The department was looking into the allegations made independently by four women, and had planned to confront the officers next week, the Times says. But a lawsuit filed by one of the woman forced the department to size the officers' phones and computers today in a search for evidence.
Detectives from the LAPD's internal affairs unit suspect that Officers Luis Valenzuela and James Nichols targeted at least four women whom they had arrested previously or who worked for them as informants, according to a search warrant reviewed by The Times.
The pair repeatedly used the threat of jail to get women into their car and drove them to secluded areas where one of the officers demanded sex while the other kept watch, the warrant alleges.
The warrant cites sexually explicit text messages that one alleged victim claims she exchanged with the officers after their encounters. Last month, investigators obtained the woman's cellphone and computers in hopes of finding the messages the officers are alleged to have written. The department has yet to examine the electronic devices, a police official said.
The allegations date back several years and were first brought to the LAPD's attention by one of the women in 2010, but it went nowhere. Chief Charlie Beck said the department is investigating the allegations.