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LA Rookie Resigns Amid Probe He Sought Info for Convict

Associated Press

November 15, 2010

LOS ANGELES—A rookie Los Angeles police officer resigned after allegations arose that he accessed a law enforcement database on behalf of a murder convict and reputed gang member whose sister was his longtime girlfriend, a published report said Sunday.

Officer Gabriel Morales, 25, resigned on Sept. 2, the same day that investigators from Internal Affairs searched his house and found computer printouts with information on two witnesses in the murder trial of Matthew Turner, according to court records obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Turner, 18, had been convicted in August of killing a man in a drive-by shooting in Highland Park, and records said that two days later investigators listening in on a phone call heard his father Wayne Turner say Morales was going to seek information on the witnesses.

“I have Gabriel running their names,” Wayne Turner said, according to a transcript of the Aug. 8 call. “He supposed to bring me their names today, where their locations at, so we can get a hold of them.”

The same day, according to the documents, Morales accessed the police database, which includes people’s personal information including home addresses.

Internal Affairs began listening to Matthew Turner’s phone calls after homicide detectives listening to his earlier calls had heard family members refer to Morales, prompting the investigation.

Wayne Turner told the Times he received no such information from Morales, whom he referred to as his son-in-law. He offered no further details.

Morales declined comment when reached by the Times, and attorneys representing both him and Matthew Turner did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Morales had dated Matthew Turner’s sister for several years and faced a situation police officials say can be common for officers forced to choose between the demands of their job and their loved ones.

“Every officer has the choice between making good decisions and bad decisions. They have to ask themselves, ‘Am I going to let something a family member has done jeopardize everything I’ve worked for or am I going to do what’s right?’” said Capt. Steven Zipperman, the commanding officer of Morales’s division.

Investigators will submit evidence to the district attorney for possible charges when the probe is completed.

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