In the first legal action after the Los Angeles Police Department made a partially botched release of the names and photos of almost every sworn officer in its department, three officers sued the owner of a website that they claimed had put a "bounty" on their lives, the Los Angeles Times reports. The lawsuit by the Los Angeles Police Protective League on behalf of the three officers demanded that Steven Sutcliffe remove their photos and other identifying information from his website killercop.com. LAPD Chief Michel Moore said in an interview on Friday that he supports the league’s efforts to have the photos taken down from Sutcliffe’s website. He added that the department was investigating whether the “solicitation for violence against officers” was criminal in nature. Sutcliffe called the lawsuit "vindictive and frivolous," but a nationally known police-reform advocate, Arnold Ventures' Walter Katz, tweeted that the website showed "the kind of dangerous zealotry that makes the work of reasonable people so difficult."
In a tweet mentioned in the lawsuit, Sutcliffe, who posts under the handle @KillerCop1984, allegedly wrote, “Remember, #Rewards are double all year for #detectives and #female cops.” The tweet included an image of a monetary reward for killing an LAPD officer, the lawsuit says. According to the suit, a later tweet allegedly included a link to a database of officer photos, along with the caption, “Clean head-shots on these #LAPD officers. A to Z.” The information about the officers was turned over by LAPD officials in response to a public records request by a journalist with the nonprofit newsroom Knock LA, then posted by Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, a group that wants to abolish traditional law enforcement but in the interim has pushed for radical transparency. The “Watch the Watchers” database includes each officer’s name, ethnicity, rank, date of hire, division/bureau and badge number, as well as a photo of the officer. After the site’s launch, department leaders revealed that they inadvertently released photos of officers working in an undercover capacity, and they began an internal investigation to determine how the mistake occurred. Sources have said that the undercover officers whose identities were compromised in the release number in the dozens, if not hundreds.