Response to ACLU Racial Profiling Study: Los Angeles Police Department Never Met a Reform Report It Agrees With

The nation’s most abusive, and aggrieved law enforcement agency, the Los Angeles Police Department, is still “doin’ what it do” as it presented its response this week to a racial profiling study released to its civilian Police Commission in October 2008. The study, titled, “Racial Profiling & The LAPD,” documents that deep and pervasive racial profiling practices still exist in the police department, despite that fact the LAPD is still under a federal consent decree to reform its historical abuse and misconduct practices. The study said that African Africans were three times as likely to be stopped than their white or Latino counterparts, five times as likely to be arrested than their white counterparts (three times as much Latinos were arrested), and almost twice as likely to be cited than anybody else in the city.

LAPD still sees black when they see drivers, though black population in Los Angeles continues to shrink (now eight percentage of the city’s population). However, our Latino counterparts are finding out what it’s like to be stopped for “driving while black,” though they are the most frequent drivers at fifty percent of the city’s population. According to the study, the “B” is “DWB” stands for black AND brown. The department’s response could be expected. For LAPD, the response is always the same; object to the report, then offer a passive response. Guilty or not, LAPD never met an external evaluation of the department that it could agree with, or that it liked.

The LAPD’s response report called, “The Prevention of Biased Policing,” essentially dismisses its own data under the assertion that you can make statistics say anything – even when they’re your own statistics – and asserts that its current methods are sufficient to address the issue. LAPD has a history of refuting what is obvious to everybody else. The ACLU report was comprehensive, empirical in its data (not anecdotal, as LAPD has claimed in the past), scientifically objective (not subjective) and significantly conclusive. Yet, the LAPD continues to tell the public that racial profiling is just “perception, not reality.”

LAPD abuse and misconduct has always been a figment of our (black people’s) imagination, according to them. Now it must be a figment of the Latino community’s imagination also. Not when Blacks and Latinos are 166% and 132% (respectively) more likely than whites to be asked to step out of the car, not when Blacks and Latinos are 127% and 43% (respectively) more likely than whites to be “frisked,” not when Blacks and Latinos are 81% and 77% (respectively) more likely than whites to be subjected to a nonconsensual search. It is NOT a figment of either the black or Latino community’s imagination. The numbers speak for themselves.

LAPD deals in selective engagement when it comes to numbers. They’re quick to use numbers or statistics when the numbers favor the department, as when crime rates drop, or when the number of recruits or officers on the street is up. The numbers are reliable then. But when they point to the department’s deficiencies as it relates to the department’s historical problem, it’s always, “No, that can’t be right.” Well, the numbers are right and LAPD needs to stop and acknowledge that. The LAPD doesn’t have to like the report to admit it is correct. It is what it is. The real issue here is: what does the department do once they know? Improve, or cover up? We know what the answer has historically been. Deny and continue to do it.

There was a time when the department could “rope a dope” the public when criticism came their way. They did it for nearly forty years, since the McCone Commission issued the first real assessment of police practices in December, 1965. While the City of Los Angeles started the Human Relations Commission in January, 1966, LAPD literally ignored the McCone Commission recommendations. In the three decades to follow, LAPD rose to its all-time corruption level, in all its racist and “blue code” glory. The April, 1992 rebellion forced LAPD to face up to its abuse and misconduct culture, and even then, the department resisted external scrutiny until a federal consent decree was imposed upon it, and an inspector general was posted in the department to provide oversight. At the time, the department didn’t even document complaints against its officers. Then, when the issue of racially biased policing was raised ten years ago, the department resisted collecting racial data and had to be forced to do it. After the worse corruption scandal in the department’s history (Rampart), the department agreed to take complaints and collect racial data.

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Last year, the department reported that in over 1,200 complaints against LAPD officers, not one had validity. Even LAPD Commissioner, John Mack, had to say, “C’mon now?” Now LAPD wants to tell us that its racial profiling problem and the black and brown disparities that exist are consistent with other departments and that trips to the museum of tolerance for officer trainees (along with a few other classes) is enough, and that statistics shouldn’t dictate policy as it relates to implementing stronger reforms against racial profiling. Meanwhile, what the department doesn’t say is that these disparate numbers exist despite the fact that the department has technology that scans license plates, watches officers (cameras in cars) and early detection systems (on officer behaviors) that still haven’t mitigated the problem. They would rather attack the critique instead.

samad.jpgLAPD played itself true to form. Despite the facts, it still wants to deny racial profiling exists in any extreme measure. Well, I rather believe the ACLU report because, no matter what, LAPD has never met a report they think is accurate about what we all know exists. We can’t wait for them to agree, to reform the department. The report is what it is. LAPD’s response doesn’t address the issue, it just denies the severity of the racial profiling question. Just what we expected.

Anthony Asadullah Samad

This article first appeared in The Black Commentator and is republished with permission.

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  1. says

    Nuevo Plan de Aztlan

    WHEREAS, We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America honor our Native American heritage with all our hearts and minds;

    WHEREAS, We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America honor the sacred call of our Native American ancestors for peace and justice throughout our Americas; and

    WHEREAS, We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America recognize La Raza has been struggling with a new wave of racial harassment, discrimination and persecution in our Americas since September 11, 2001.

    NOW THEREFORE, We the Chicanos y Chicanos of the United States of America resolve as follows:

    SECTION 1. TITLE

    This resolution may be cited as Nuevo Plan de Aztlan.

    SECTION 2. TERMINOLOGY

    Nuevo Plan de Aztlan is based on the following terms:

    a) Americanas y Americanos

    Americanas y Americanos are ALL AMERICANS regardless of our races, colors, languages, cultures, nationalities, ethnicities, religions or creeds.

    b) Aztlan

    The concept of Aztlan is derived from the Nahua history of the Mexicas before their southern migration from Norte America into Centro Mexico during the 11th Century. Aztlan today is Indigenas of Mexican-American and(or) Mexican descent who consider ourselves Chicanas y Chicanos regardless of where we were born, live or die.

    c) Carnalismo

    Carnalismo is the love and compassion Chicanas y Chicanos have for each other as carnalas y carnales (sisters and brothers). Carnalismo is what unites and strengthens Chicanas y Chicanos as we work together for peace and justice.

    d) Chicanas y Chicanos

    Chicanas y Chicanos are Indigenas of Mexican-American and(or) Mexican descent who consider ourselves Chicanas y Chicanos based on our Native American heritage.

    e) El Movimiento

    El Movimiento is the Chicana y Chicano Movement for peace and justice. El Movimiento is comprised of numerous academic, athletic, artistic, business, commercial, cultural, educational, political, recreational, social, spiritual, wholistic and other Chicana y Chicano organizations and individuals working for peace and justice throughout Aztlan, our Americas and the world.

    f) Heritage

    Our Native American heritage includes our ancestral lands and freedoms; and all the histories, cultures, traditions and mores of our Native American ancestors.

    g) Indigenas

    Often called Native Americans or American Indians, Indigenas are all the indigenous peoples of our Americas including those of mixed-race heritage like La Raza.

    h) La Causa

    La Causa is for peace and justice, the eternal cause of Chicanas y Chicanos who recognize there can be no true peace without true justice, i.e., the abolition of poverty, racism, sexism and all other injusticias in our Americas.

    i) La Raza

    Chicanas y Chicanos can be Black, White, Brown, Red, Yellow and(or) any other “skin color” like the rest of La Raza and the human race. The concept of La Raza was derived from a 1925 essay published by Jose Vasconcelos, a Mexican educator who called the millions of mixed-race Indigenas with Latin-American and(or) Latin-European ancestors La Raza Cosmica.

    La Raza is comprised of every race, color, nationality, ethnicity, culture, language, religion and creed in the world. This rich diversity is the unifying power, force and strength of Chicanas y Chicanos, and of all La Raza as we grow to know, understand and honor our great heritage.

    j) Latinas y Latinos

    Latinas y Latinos of our Americas are Indigenas with a Latin-American and(or) Latin-European heritage. Millions of Latinas y Latinos also have African, Asian and other Non-Latino ancestors.

    k) Racism

    ·Racial categories are crude labels based on parentage, genetics and(or) physical traits, not religious or scientific proof of one’s superior or inferior nature like racists believe.

    ·Racism is the belief one or more “races” are inherently “superior” to one or more other races. [Example: Many Americans believe “White people” are inherently superior to “Non-White people” and that “Black people” are inherently inferior to all other people.]

    ·Racism includes the belief “mixed-race” people like La Raza are inferior to those with birth parents of the same race. “Race-mixing” is still condemned by racists today. · Indigenas were considered savages (less-than-human) when Europeans first invaded and occupied our Americas. “Christianized” and(or) otherwise assimilated Indigenas are still considered inferior by today’s racists.

    ·Racists are not just poor or poorly educated citizens, there are wealthy and highly educated racists throughout government and society who strive to protect and preserve their privileged status via institutional, industrial and commercial racism. Racists are not just White, either; there are Brown, Black, Red, Asian and other racists, too.

    ·The racist imposition of the colonial English language on Indigenas continues to cause horrendous problems for Chicanas y Chicanos in education, employment and virtually all other aspects of life in the U.S. Laws, rules and regulations are selectively enforced by local, state and federal institutions against La Raza, as English is used as a weapon to deprive Chicanas y Chicanos of liberty, equality and justice throughout our lives.

    ·Private industry (“free enterprise”) also causes havoc for Chicanas y Chicanos by perpetuating racist stereotypes and beliefs about La Raza for profit and gain. [Example: Mass media and the “entertainment” industries commercialize racist stereotypes and beliefs about Latinas y Latinos throughout the world, while pretending to be “spreading freedom and democracy” alongside the Pentagon.]

    l) Terrorist(s)

    A terrorist or terrorists are human beings who use unwarranted violence and(or) the threat of violence to kill, rob, rape, torture, imprison or otherwise impose their will over other human beings.

    SECTION 3. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

    Nuevo Plan de Aztlan addresses the alarming attacks orchestrated against Indigenas throughout Norte America since September 11, 2001 (9/11). U.S. officials are using La Raza as a scapegoat or smokescreen to distract or divert attention away from their heinous war crimes in the Middle East.

    According to their domestic propaganda, the “real problem” and therefore actual enemy or threat to national security is Mexicans and other Indigenas “invading” Norte America, not the Pentagon killing, torturing, maiming, imprisoning and destroying other indigenous peoples’ lives in faraway lands.

    Thousands of racist media, vigilante, “homeland security” and other hostile actions have been executed against Indigenas since 9/11, as tens of thousands of these indigent men, women and children have been rounded up and herded out of Norte America like cattle.

    SECTION 4. HISTORICAL ANALYSIS

    Indigenas have suffered centuries of injusticias including genocide, rape, torture, mayhem, kidnapping, slavery, peonage, poverty, homelessness and groundless imprisonment at the hands of the original European invaders and occupiers of our Americas.

    The offspring of these European terrorists expect Chicanas y Chicanos to ignore or forget this true account of their ancestors’ horrendous atrocities, as if these abominations against our Native American ancestors never occurred or mattered.

    As English imperialism via the U.S. government seeks to conquer the entire world, La Raza is increasingly faced with discriminatory law enforcement, housing, education, employment, healthcare, mass media, entertainment and other racist industrial, commercial and institutional policies and practices, especially since 9/11.

    The offspring of the European terrorists who originally stole our ancestral lands are guilty of receiving this stolen property. Receiving stolen property is no less a crime than stealing it. These aliens remain in denial as they continue to exploit, oppress and otherwise deprive us of our ancestral lands and freedoms from generation-to-generation much like their terrorist ancestors did against our ancestors for the past few centuries.

    U.S. racists are now working to outlaw MEChA and other Movimiento organizations being blamed for “too many Mexicans” and other Indigenas in Norte America today. Local, state and federal government agencies have also made it extremely difficult for the Partido de La Raza Unida to rise politically against this institutionalized harassment, discrimination and persecution in any significant way.

    These same racists oppose Chicana y Chicano Studies, affirmative action, financial aid, bilingual and multicultural education, ethnic studies, fair housing, equal employment opportunities and all other ways and means of attempting to create level playing fields for La Raza, as if the U.S. only belongs to Anglo-Americans and everyone else is a second-class citizen at best.

    SECTION 5. MEXICO, CENTRO Y SUR AMERICA

    The 21st Century campaign against Mexicans in the U.S.is also aimed at Chicanas y Chicanos since we are all familia. Chicanas y Chicanos have a natural, inherent or innate relationship with Mexicanas y Mexicanos because of our common Native American heritage that is everlasting.Other Indigenas throughout our Americas are suffering from these racist attacks too.

    We are all being treated as a threat or potential threat to national security by the racist U.S. government at the local, state, federal and international level.

    SECTION 6. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    a) We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America must reach beyond nationalism to establish and(or) coalesce with parallel movements of other Indigenas united around our multilingual, multiracial and multicultural heritage throughout our Americas and on outlying islands.

    b) El Movimiento’s mass communication, organization and mobilization initiatives call for Chicanas y Chicanos to join forces with all La Raza against our common exploiters and oppressors because we cannot be free unless and until all La Raza is free.

    c) Economic justice cannot be achieved without social and political justice. La Raza must join together as an international union of Indigenas to work for this justicia as opposed to permitting the racists to continue to exploit and oppress La Raza via commercial, industrial and institutional racism from generation-to-generation.

    d) This indigenous union must ensure liberty, equality and justice for all Americanas y Americanos so We can all live, work and travel freely in peace and justice throughout our Americas for so long as the rivers flow.

    e) The first priority of our new union is to abolish poverty, racism and sexism throughout our Americas.

    f) This union must ensure all workers in our Americas receive good jobs and compensation so that all Americanas y Americanos can have nice homes in safe and secure neighborhoods and communities. People unable to work will also have nice homes in these safe and secure neighborhoods and communities because no one will live in poverty or homelessness in our Americas except by her or his own choosing.

    g) We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America must ensure our children learn about our indigenous ancestors, at home and in all the schools, colleges and universities of our Americas so they and future generations will know, understand and honor our Native American heritage.

    NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America will live our daily lives in accordance with Nuevo Plan de Aztlan to the best of our abilities.

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America will encourage Chicana y Chicano organizations everywhere to review, adopt and incorporate Nuevo Plan de Aztlan into their own missions, goals and objectives so all Indigenas can stand united against the new wave of racial harassment, discrimination and persecution La Raza faces in the 21st Century.

    Copyright 2008 Internet Mecha. Nuevo Plan de Aztlan may be reproduced, republished and disseminated freely.

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  1. [...] Age of victims also comes into question. Movies and TV shows amplify misconceptions about conflicts between young urban black men and law enforcement. The reality, as demonstrated by Gates’ arrest, is African-Americans are racially profiled regardless of age. Young black men are just more vulnerable and easier to criminalize. Compartmentalizing racial profiling to black urban youth hides a much deeper racism in America. [...]

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