The Los Angeles Police Department is under fire by the police union for caving in to anti-police activists.
The LAPD’s Metropolitan Division will be required to cut back drastically on the number of vehicles randomly stopped in its crime-fighting, a tactic that has been criticized by certain groups concerned about alleged racial profiling, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Is the antidote or the treatment itself causing more harm to trust than whatever small or incremental reduction you may be seeing in violence?” LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the Times on Monday, noting that the vehicle stops have not been effective, netting only about one arrest for every 100 cars that are pulled over.
“And even though we’re recovering hundreds more guns, and those firearms represent real weapons and dangers to a community, what are we doing to the tens of thousands of people that live in those communities and their perception of law enforcement?” he asked.
Activists #STOPTHESTOPS demand LAPD end to “pretextual” stops cited by LATIMES targeting blacks and Latinos. They want LAPD’S Metro Division to leave South LA. LAPD says stops are Constitutional and there’s more to this story. Your experience? pic.twitter.com/IgBAwCRVvI
— Miriam Hernandez (@abc7miriam) October 9, 2019
Instead, the approximately 200 Metro officers will be tracking down violent crime suspects using “strategies other than vehicle stops to address crime flare-ups ranging from burglaries to shootings,” the Times reported.
The change was prompted by a recent Times investigation claiming that the random stops had a disproportionate effect on black and Latino drivers.
According to the Times:
The Times investigation, published in January, showed that Metro officers stopped African American drivers at a rate more than five times their share of the city’s population.
Nearly half the drivers stopped by Metro were black, in a city that is 9% black, according to the analysis.
Even in South L.A., where most residents are black or Latino, the percentage of black drivers stopped by Metro was twice their share of the population, the analysis found.
Moore said the Times investigation spurred the changes to Metro, both through the statistics themselves and through the attention that community groups subsequently brought to the issue.
Those groups included the ACLU and the Community Coalition of South L.A.
But the Los Angeles Police Protective League blasted the new decision and said in a statement that the LAPD has “cut and run away from the residents of South Los Angeles.”
The League also called out the LAPD for making the decision based on “incomplete data, presented with minimal context, coupled with sensationalized cherry-picked racial information intended to inflame and divide.”
“The Chief’s decision to buckle to the demands of anti-police groups like the ACLU, who have zero interest in ensuring criminals are arrested, is deeply disappointing,” the union’s board of directors said in a statement. “We do not support this reckless gamble that will lead to the further victimization of people of color by criminals and gang members.”
But Moore emphasized that under the new guidelines, vehicle stops will be the last resort for Metro officers.
The Times reported:
Moore also has floated the idea of Metro switching from unmarked cars to black-and-whites, to avoid the perception that officers are predators lying in wait. But Moore said he is considering feedback from some gang interventionists, who said that the unmarked Metro vehicles may prevent violence because gang members are intimidated by the sight of them
The Metro Division will be moving from “very aggressive suppression” to “a mission that is more problem-solving,” according to civil rights attorney Connie Rice.
This divisive new decision is only the latest controversial news out of California. There have also been recent forced blackouts for citizens, and Governor Gavin Newsom has approved a wave of aggressive anti-gun laws.
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