LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With the Los Angeles City Council racism scandal still simmering, the city on Tuesday unveiled its new discrimination enforcement division, promising to crack down on civil and human rights violations in private sector commerce, education, employment and housing.
"Angelenos who've experienced discrimination, whether that's at work, in housing, at school, can finally find justice," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "I'm very proud of the work that this city has done. I'm always ashamed of the work that we still have to do, but we're not powerless to move that ball forward."
Last month, discrimination took center stage in L.A. when a year-old recording of three city councilmembers was released.
In that recording, the discussion shifted from redistricting to racist rants.
Former Council President Nury Martinez resigned in the wake of the scandal, but councilmembers Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo have refused to step aside despite widespread protests.
"Now, more than ever, at a time when our city and our nation have suffered such pain from the actions of some to divide us, Los Angeles is proud to ensure that civil rights for all are protected," said Council President Paul Krekorian.
"Those who have suffered from discrimination in employment or in housing, in business or in commerce, should know that the City of Los Angeles stands with you, and is ready to see that justice is done."
The new discrimination enforcement unit will be empowered to investigate complaints involving discrimination in the private sector and has the authority to issue subpoenas and impose financial penalties up to $250,000, according to L.A. Civil Rights Executive Director Capri Maddox.
"Fighting hate and discrimination is in our DNA at L.A. Civil Rights, and we are proud to take this fight to a whole new level," said Maddox. "Our Discrimination Enforcement division can enforce civil rights law in Los Angeles and provide much-needed justice to those who have faced discrimination."