A criminal defense consultant recently completed a 45-day federal prison sentence for exposing a pattern of domestic violence and cover-up by officers in the Los Angeles Police Department. Bob Mullally was officially charged with contempt of court for violating a 1997 civil court order by leaking 79 confidential files that detailed domestic violence complaints filed against LAPD officers to a California reporter. Mullally had discovered in the files evidence that “[k]ids were being beaten. Women were being beaten and raped. Their organs were ruptured. Bones were broken. It was hard cold-fisted brutality by police officers, and nothing was being done to protect their family members,” he told LA Weekly.
“It was clear there was a double standard. Civilians were being prosecuted but not police officers,” said Gregory Yates, an attorney who hired Mullally to look into domestic violence in the LAPD for a case he was working on, according to LA Weekly. “The LAPD was covering up and whitewashing cases involving domestic abuse by their officers.” Mullally was charged with contempt of court in 2001 by US District Judge William Keller and sentenced to 60 days in jail. Mullally appealed, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asked Keller to reconsider the jail sentence. Keller reduced it to 45 days.
Following Mullally’s whistle-blowing, the Feminist Majority Foundation and its National Center for Women and Policing pushed for and won an investigation of LAPD practices involving police officers guilty of domestic abuse. The review of 227 domestic violence cases involving LAPD officers confirmed that these cases were being severely mishandled, according to the LAPD Inspector-General. In more than 75 percent of confirmed cases, the personnel file omitted or downplayed the domestic abuse. Of those accused of domestic violence, 29 percent were later promoted and 30 percent were repeat offenders. The review and the revelation led to significant reforms in the LAPD’s handling on police officer-involved domestic violence.