320 complaints of racial profiling: Not one had merit: LAPD

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
Maysie Maysie's picture
320 complaints of racial profiling: Not one had merit: LAPD


Maysie Maysie's picture

There are no words.


Los Angeles Police Department officials announced Tuesday that they investigated more than 300 complaints of racial profiling against officers last year and found that none had merit -- a conclusion that left members of the department's oversight commission incredulous.

It is at least the sixth consecutive year that all allegations of racial profiling against LAPD officers have been dismissed, according to department documents reviewed by The Times.


"A big, fat zero," said a visibly flummoxed Commissioner John Mack, who is African American and the former president of the Los Angeles Urban League. "In my mind, there is no such thing as a perfect institution . . . I find it baffling that we have these zeros."


Allegations of racial profiling, he said, hinge on what the officer was thinking at the time and, so, are nearly impossible to prove without a confession.

"It goes to the officer's state of mind. How do you get inside someone's mind?" he said in a brief interview.

Bratton rejected the notion that some allegations, while not proven, were legitimate. "This is not a racist department. It is not a homophobic department. It is not a brutal department," he said. "Does it have some officers that may be those things? Possibly. But we search very hard for them, and their numbers are very small."


The debate unfolded Tuesday amid the commission's broader concerns over how the department handles the thousands of complaints made each year against officers.

In February, the inspector general released a report that concluded investigators frequently failed to fully investigate citizen complaints against allegedly abusive officers, often omitting or altering crucial information.

The report, and extensive media attention, sparked calls by commissioners for a review of the complaint investigation process.

The issue of racial profiling reaches back into one of the department's darkest periods. Since 2000, the department has been working to implement scores of reforms included in a federal consent decree that stems from the Rampart corruption scandal. As part of the decree, the department is required to gather and analyze racial data involving vehicle and pedestrian stops.

But conclusive figures that might indicate whether systemic racial profiling is a problem in the LAPD have remained elusive. Department and city officials early on acknowledged that the raw data collected by officers when they make a stop are unhelpful because they do not include factors such as the race of the officer, the predominant race of the neighborhood in which the stop was made, and whether the stop resulted in an arrest and conviction.


After years of delays, the first phase of a project to install video cameras in police patrol cars is expected to start in coming months. The cameras are expected to provide more telling information.

(Please note how the Rodney King trial and verdict is glossed over so neatly. Grrrrr.)

[url=http://www.latimes.com/news/la-me-lapd30apr30,0,6765967.story]L.A. Times article[/url]


It is so disturbing that organizations and institutions do not see racism as important enough to put in place adequate and deserving complaint investigation process in place. As a result racism goes on and no one even tries to stop it and those who try are told that there is no racism. What is even more disturbing is that a lot of these are perpetuated through people of colour. The people of colour who try to “fit in” by perpetuating racism on behalf of the oppressor and on their hands and knees.

In Canada provincial and federal government throw money at problems (although not enough) of discrimination and racism but do not put accountability measures in place to ensure that the money is spend appropriately for elimination of racism and discrimination. In response to the shootings in down town Toronto the provincial government put some fund aside which are send to various organizations to be used violence prevention programs however these organizations themselves do not have proper complaint investigation process in place. Result of this is that the youth of colour are still subject to racism and still have to “fit in”, meaning becoming white and viewing themselves through the eyes of oppressor. These organizations bottom stream youth of colour and there is no proper investigation process in place to eliminate racism.

Maysie Maysie's picture

From Colorlines Magazine Nov/Dec 2007:


Killed By the Cops
by Jeff Kelly Lowenstein

This summer ColorLines and The Chicago Reporter conducted a joint national investigation of fatal police shootings in America’s 10 largest cities, each of which had more than 1 million people in 2000. Several striking findings emerged.

To begin, African Americans were overrepresented among police shooting victims in every city the publications investigated.

The contrast was particularly noticeable in New York, San Diego and Las Vegas. In each of these cities, the percentage of black people killed by police was at least double that of their share of the city’s total population.

"There is a crisis of perception where African American males and females take their lives in their hands just walking out the door," said Delores Jones-Brown, interim director of the Center on Race, Crime and Justice at John Jay College in New York.

"There is a notion they will be perceived as armed and dangerous. It’s clear that it’s not just a local problem."

The shootings may be explained in part by implicit bias on the part of police officers, according to research by University of Chicago Assistant Professor Joshua Correll.

A second significant point: Latinos are a rising number of fatal police shooting victims.

Starting in 2001, the number of incidents in which Latinos were killed by police in cities with more than 250,000 people rose four consecutive years, from 19 in 2001 to 26 in 2005. The problem was exceptionally acute in Phoenix, which had the highest number of Latinos killed in the country.

Despite these persistent problems of disproportionate police force in communities of color, a disturbing lack of accountability plagues several of the cities examined.

[url=http://www.colorlines.com/article.php?ID=255]Link to Colorlines article[/url]


Thanks for the link bcg.

Here is one from Canada.

Following is not very new but I can't find Wartley's newer papers on line.

Meanwhile, black people comprised 0.6 per cent of the population; however, they accounted for 2.2 per cent of all stops. This means they were 3.67 times more likely to be stopped than other members of the population.
"The data suggest that black people are more likely to be stopped and questioned by the Kingston police than people from other racial backgrounds," says the report's author Scot Wortley, associate professor at the University of Toronto's Centre of Criminology.