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LAPD, USC students discuss racial profiling allegations

May 7, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Students at the University of Southern California and Los Angeles police met Tuesday night in an attempt to reconcile as the tension on campus and the surrounding community escalates following a party crackdown that led to arrests and new allegations of racial profiling.

Close to a thousand people packed a standing room only forum with USC officials and leaders from the Los Angeles Police Department.

The meeting was prompted by a graduation party over the weekend at Nate Howard's house on 23rd and Hoover streets. Howard claims he registered the party with the school and had security, but a huge LAPD presence shut it down and arrested six people.

"I really, I really do mean it. We have to make a change," said Howard.

Howard claims students were unfairly targeted because they're black. He said there was no reason the party should have been shut down.

"They were herded like animals," one student said at the forum.

That student said she was hosting a party across the street at the same time, predominantly with white students.

"The only difference between those two parties was that racial component, and if you're going to deny that, then I'm sorry, I'm just not going to stand for it," she said.

LAPD Cmdr. Bill Scott asked the students to raise their hands if they believe the incident was based on race. Everyone in the crowd raised their hands.

"The hands that I saw were white hands, black hands, brown hands, everybody in the room, so that means something to us," said Scott.

Earlier at the forum, Chief Charlie Beck addressed the racism claims.

"We will diligently examine whether that is true or not, but I would put forward that in the vast majority of incidents, police officers are just responding to behavior," said Beck.

USC's vice president said he's offering psychological counseling to the students who were arrested and an opportunity to retake their finals at another time.


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