LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A federal investigation was underway Friday into allegations that members of a Los Angeles Police Department gang unit failed to properly document traffic stops or activate their body-worn cameras as required.

"The department's expectations are that all traffic stops or detentions will be fully documented, and body-worn video devices will be used as required," LAPD Chief Michel Moore said in a statement issued Thursday evening.

"Consequences for any member who would purposely avoid our requirements will be certain and severe. Such misconduct undermines the public's trust and tarnishes the badge of the vast majority of officers who conduct themselves with integrity and reverence for the law."

What You Need To Know

  • Federal investigators are looking into allegations that LAPD gang unit members failed to activate their body-worn cameras 

  • The police department requires all traffic stops and detentions to be documented

  • The probe targets members of the Mission Area Gang Enforcement detail

  • LAPD officials said they are cooperating with the probe

The Los Angeles Times first reported on the department's probe of the Mission Area Gang Enforcement Detail. According to the Times, internal affairs detectives took the rare step of searching officers' lockers last week.

In the Thursday night statement, the LAPD said the internal investigation began earlier this year when a resident filed a complaint that "they were stopped by two uniformed LAPD officers and his vehicle searched without consent." The resident was released following the search, according to the LAPD.

The department identified the officers as members of the Mission gang detail.

"A review of their reports and other material determined the officers had not properly documented the detention or their other actions in violation of department policy," according to the LAPD.

Internal investigators subsequently "identified additional instances of the involved officers not properly documenting traffic stops or activating their body-worn video camera as required," according to the department. "The investigation identified similar undocumented incidents and suspected failures to activate their body-worn video cameras involving other members of the same unit."

LAPD officials are continuing the internal investigation, in consultation with the District Attorney's Office, according to the agency. The probe was also referred to the Public Corruption Civil Rights Section of the United States Attorney's Office. The FBI Civil Rights Division has also begun an investigation, according to the department.

"The Los Angeles Police Department will fully cooperate with all investigations surrounding this incident(s)," according to the department.

Mayor Karen Bass issued a statement Thursday night saying she had been briefed on the situation and "what I've been told is very disturbing."

"Instances like this can erode confidence and trust in our police department," she said. "Under my administration, transparency and accountability is required. I am encouraged by the leadership of LAPD taking an aggressive posture towards this investigation to ensure Angelenos are being served with fairness and integrity. I will await the results of any and all investigations including those conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department, the United States Attorney's Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation."

News of the investigation came just days after the Los Angeles City Council approved a new labor contract with the union representing LAPD officers, providing bumps in pay and incentives aimed at improving recruitment and retention of officers.