Two LAPD Cops Charged With Rape And Sexual Assault While On Duty

Two cops have been charged with raping four women ranging from the ages of 19 to 35 years old over a four-year period. The two Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers have been charged with sexually assaulting the women, with most incidents allegedly happening while the policemen were on duty, including in their police vehicle, according to the District Attorney (DA).

Cops charged with rap
According to CBS News, the two cops charged with rape are veteran officers James Nichols, 44, and Luis Valenzuela, 43. They are accused of committing rape and sexual assaults multiple times to multiple women from December 2008 to March 2011.

The accused rapists were formally charged on Wednesday for multiple counts of sexual assault including forcible rape and oral copulation by force, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office announced in a statement. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck spoke during the statement and is aiding with the investigation into the two former policemen.

“I will say again, any officer that abuses the public’s trust is not welcome in the LAPD and we will continue vigorously investigating officers accused of alleged crimes and cooperate fully with the District Attorney’s office.”

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The officers charged with rape were partners working the Hollywood Division. All four women who have come forward were arrested by Nichols and Valenzuela in connection with narcotics-related offenses, according to the DA’s office.

The cops charged with rape are accused of using their powerful positions to intimidate the women. The victims reported that the policemen would threaten them with incarceration, arrest, or deportation if they did not perform sex acts and have sex with them. In one December 16, 2008 incident, Nichols and Valenzuela are accused by the complainant of restraining one of the victims during the alleged abuse.

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A lawyer who is representing two of the four victims said the policemen preyed upon “vulnerable, desperate, exposed” women who had extreme concern for their personal safety. According to the Independent, one of the victims, Tammy Kim, said she was forced to have sex with Officer Valenzuela in August 2009 under threat of arrest and with the promise that he would give her extra credit for helping with his next collar. In late 2010, Nichols became Kim’s primary contact and he too forced her into sex on two separate occasions in 2011, the lawsuit alleges.

Both cops will be arraigned Thursday on charges that include forcible rape, rape under color of authority, oral copulation under color of authority, and oral copulation by force. Officer Valenzuela has also been charged with one count of assault with a firearm after allegedly pointing a gun at one of his victims during his four-year reign of terror.

This is not the first time Nichols has been accused of sexual assault. According to the New York Daily News, Nichols has been accused but not charged of sex crimes previously. He has also been sued by a former Universal Pictures executive who claimed Nichols beat him bloody during a 2012 arrest.

There has been an alarming increase of reports in police brutality in the United States ranging from excessive force, murder, violence, humiliation, torture, sexual assault, and racism. According to the Guardian, by September 2015, U.S. police had killed 776 people that year, 161 of whom were completely unarmed at the time of their death. That is an average of three people per day. The Guardian keeps a tally of deaths caused by police through a comprehensive project called “The Counted.” The project is an online interactive database that is continuously updated with police killings in the United States. The site shows an image of the victims and explains the way they were killed. Most were killed by gunshot. No other U.S. government agency maintains a similar listing of deaths. The tally is up to 133 people this year.

Cops charged with rape
Nichols and Valenzuela are scheduled to be arraigned today. Prosecutors will ask for $3.83 million bail for Nichols and $3.76 million for Valenzuela. If convicted, Nichols and Valenzuela will face life in prison.

[Photo by Al Seib/Getty Images]