LA CAN Responds to LAPD Racial Profiling
LA CAN has challenged racial profiling by LAPD in a variety of ways over the past five years. This includes, however not limited to, direct action; constant public testimony before the hair-brained police commission; filed a Department of Justice complaint and have been in conversation with the DOJ over these issues. Also, members of LA CAN have been targeted and arrested as a result of our activities—but we still fight on taking the lumps as they come. Just today a number of LA CAN number members spoke out strongly at the police commission regarding the continued use of racial profiling.
The following is an excerpt of testimony delivered by General Dogon:
Chief Beck, you are taking a page out of Bratton’s playbook when you claim that the racial profiling cited by the Department of Justice is all in the past. We have heard time and again that it’s a new department, that LAPD is color-blind, and that now, everything is perfect.
Carrying over a line from Chief Bratton, which suggests it’s impossible to get into the head of an officer, you have buried your head in the sand! Ignoring empirical data, your data, you instead hide behind words like “biased policing.” You insist that it is merely a phenomenon by White and Latino officer against Black people, largely Black men.
We say, and the Department of Justice agrees, phenomena our ASS! It’s RACIAL PROFILING, it always has been…it remains intact…and we will fight to remove it by any means necessary.
When an officer says they can’t do their job without racial profiling, this points to LAPD culture and training practices. This is both historical AND present. The Ghosts of Rampart past are alive and well. Chief Gates is roaming the hall! And the violent institution known as LAPD is handling business as usual. We are reminded by the DOJ’s letter that the Consent Decree is not over and that true reform is yet to happen.
Chief Beck, when you say that the DOJ is criticizing you for the way, and I quote, “we used to do things”. This is an open admission of guilt. We know first-hand that the new guidelines put into place last year have not stopped racial profiling,but the department continues its good old happy talk that everything is alright.
We have been here many times before and we are here again to say loud and clear, everything is not alright! We’re here to say exactly what your own officers are saying, they can’t do their job without profiling.
We recently delivered a petition and letter to your office, and this commission, calling for the end of the Safer City Initiative happening in Downtown Los Angeles and expanding to Venice Beach. There were over 3,600 signatures from local residents and over 100 local businesses calling for the end of SCI. Make no mistake, SCI is racial profiling on steroids making it a crime to be Black in downtown Los Angeles. In response you sent a one paragraph letter to Pete White, director of LA CAN, merely acknowledging receipt. Your response, or lack therof, clearly states that you are only interested in business as usual and that includes racial profiling.
This deeply ingrained racist culture cannot be solved in a letter, in an email, or through our continued presence at this committee.
Until you meet with us face to face, as we have been requesting ever since you became chief, this problem will continue to exist.
So, once again, we demand that you meet with us. This problem is not going to go away as your officers continue to “do their job” by profiling us, our community and others across the city.