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Students claim Hispanic bias in interrogation

October 13, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Dozens of students are suing Herbert Hoover High School in Glendale and the city's police department, alleging they were victims of racial profiling. The students claim they were targeted in a police roundup because they're Hispanic.

The group of Hoover High students claims they are among 56 students rounded up and interrogated by police.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the students were having lunch at Herbert Hoover High School on September 24, 2010, when officers from the Glendale Police Dept., the Los Angeles Police Dept. and the L.A. County Probation Dept. escorted them into classrooms.

"They said that we were going to be like all searched and they were going to take our pictures and take our information down for the future, like, if we were to ever get in trouble they would have it on file," said student Matthew Murillo.

According to the ACLU, a non-Hispanic student who was having lunch with some of the students involved was left alone.

"It is not illegal to be a Latino teenager, yet the defendants concluded that being Latino and hanging out with other Latino students was all the reason that they needed to detain and interrogate these students," said David Sapp, ACLU Southern California.

Among the lawsuit's demands: information gathered by the officers must be destroyed so it isn't used against them down the road.

The Glendale Police Dept. had not responded to comment on the lawsuit Thursday.

The LAPD says that they have not seen the lawsuit and are not familiar with the allegations of racially motivated bias complaints by students at local high schools.

"The LAPD has longstanding policies prohibiting racial profiling and racially biased policing of any kind," said LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman in a statement.

A Glendale Unified School District spokesperson said the district has not seen the lawsuit, so they cannot comment on it, adding that student safety is their top priority.

The L.A. County Probation Dept. says they're looking into what happened last September and it's still unclear to them as to why an officer would be on campus interrogating students.

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