Activists called for systematic change within the Los Angeles Police Department after released data show that black and Latinx drivers are wrongly stopped and searched at higher rates.
Data organized by the LA Times and published in an article yesterday revealed even though these stop and searches happen more frequently to people of color, the ratio of illegal items found is less than that of whites who are stopped.
About 100 people gathered to listen to speakers passionately tell their stories of unjustified searches and demand change from city hall. The eight speakers rejected that there are “only a few bad apples” in the police and that the problem is systemic to LAPD.
“The Mayor needs to hold these officers accountable. The Chief needs to hold these officers accountable,” said Mary Williams. Her grandson, Keith Bursey was killed by an LAPD officer in what she said was a racially motivated police stop.
Bryant Mangum, who spoke at the event with his infant son, said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from the many times he has been stopped and illegally searched by police.
“My biggest fear is that I pass this trauma down to my kids and also fearing that they live through this same harassment as people of color,” Mangum said.
PUSH LA made four demands outlined in a letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Michel Moore;
- An end to stop and searches based on racial profiling and an immediate withdrawal of the Metro Division from South Los Angeles.
- That the LAPD officially and publicly admit to racial profiling and issue an apology to those unjustly stopped and searched.
- Reparations for unlawful stops and searches.
- That officers who engage in unwarranted stops, show patterns of racial profiling or engage in misconduct and abuse be disciplined.
In a press statement this morning LAPD Chief Moore responded to the analysis presented in the LA Times article when he said, “we do not believe the information provided tells a complete story.” He said that the numbers presented show racial disparities compared to residential populations, they don’t describe the circumstances of each stop.
When asked for further comment an LAPD spokesperson would not respond beyond the statement made by Chief Moore.