An investigation by Tampa Police Department Internal Affairs has revealed that back in September 2018, a citizen made a complaint against Officers Mark Landry and John Laratta.
A year ago Landry received the employee of the month award, but just month later, his reputation , as well as Laratta’s were being investigated and scrutinized following allegations of misconduct.
This unidentified citizen alleges that both Landry and Laratta threatened him with physical violence. Although both officers denied it, the investigation revealed that Laratta powered off his body came just merely three minutes into interactions with said citizen. This is both a violation of TPD code of conduct, and policies in place that both we well aware of. This was not the only incident, the investigation revealed that Laratta turned his body cam off on numerous instances and during special calls.
Investigators said that the officers would make drug stops, confiscate the drugs, dispose of the drugs, and would fail to enter these drugs into evidence or document it in any reports filed on the instances. These are to egregious TPD violations.
“We don’t know how it was disposed of, but we do know that it was not placed into evidence like it should have been”, Attorney Anthony Rickman stated,
The trouble both Landry and Laratta are facing, could be just beginning.
Samuel Rosado, a defendant that was stopped by the pair in Tampa, FL last August, was arrested on drug charges and he also is accusing both officers of misconduct. Ralph Fernandez, Rosado’s attorney, wrote in court documents, “counsel has become aware of credible claims of missing narcotics and monies seized from defendants”.
Attorney Rickman said that these allegations are very serious. “They are saying these officers stole, that there is a pattern of stealing narcotics and money from the defendants”, he explained.
A report shows a small amount of marijuana was discovered in Laratta’s police cruiser, however the report did not find evidence of planting evidence, false arrests or theft by either of the officers,
The plot thickens…
The investigation into Landry and Laratta uncovered misconduct of eight additional officers. The report concluded that a pattern of officers not filing reports or documenting any incidents with citizens that they detained , arrested and also of “disposing” of drugs instead of entering them into evidence.
“When you see this many officers implicated in wrong-doing, you have to ask the question why it is happening and what’s going on at TPD?”, Rickman said.
Notably, both Landry and Laratta passed drug tests.
At time of press, we know of three officers including Landry and Laratta, have been relieved of any and all duties with TPD pending the investigation and its outcome. This could take some time.