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New chief plans to stop racial profiling

November 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
LAPD Chief designate Charlie Beck knows he has his work cut out for him, but a new investigation by the department's inspector general suggests a new challenge.The LAPD has long been accused of racial profiling, what the department now calls biased policing, which is the act of singling out people because of their race or sexual preference. The inspector general's report indicates serious mistakes in one-third of the biased policing cases studied.

"How serious is top command in the LAPD, not only taking complaints of racial profiling but actually incidents of racial profiling," said Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable.

In eight years, all allegations of racial profiling filed against officers have been dismissed by the LAPD. There are supposed to be new guidelines now in effect in how to investigate bias complaints.

The lack of anyone being disciplined was one of the first questions at a community forum sponsored by the Urban Policy Roundtable.

"It's something I'm going to closely monitor, I'm going to work with the police commission on it," said Beck. "It's important to me that we determine exactly to what extent officers' actions are based on racial bias."

Beck also said that cameras in police cars will help prohibit any racially biased actions by police. The cameras will soon be in all cars in this area.

When asked about how no officer has been disciplined in racial profiling cases, Beck said, "It tells me we need to do better investigations, that we need to get to the truth of the issue and that's what the new system is about."

One of the first questions at the meeting had to do with racial profiling. Beck says they will start by looking at the inspector general's report. He admits there will be biases but says officers can't act on them.

Beck has been holding a lot of community meetings and promises to do even more when he becomes chief. His final meeting with the city council as chief designate is next week.


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