Feds Warn LAPD To Do More About Racial Profiling

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The federal government has warned the Los Angeles Police Department to do more to combat racial profiling by officers, saying the LAPD’s investigations into the practice are inadequate.

In a letter to city and police officials, the U.S. Department of Justice cites a recording of two officers being dismissive of racial profiling complaints, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

When told that other officers had been accused of stopping a motorist because of his race, one officer responds, “So, what?” The second officer is heard twice saying that he “couldn’t do (his) job without racially profiling.”

The officers didn’t know they were being recorded.

Their comments spoke to a “perception and attitude of some LAPD officers on the street” and suggested “a culture that is inimical to race-neutral policing,” Justice officials found.

Chief Charlie Beck said the conversation is not indicative of widespread practices at the department. The Justice Department investigation is based on cases that predated strict investigative guidelines put into place last year, Beck said.

The LAPD remains under federal oversight on the issue.

“It is a huge leap to paint the entire department with that brush,” Beck told the Times. “And it is just not true. It’s not that type of department. We have a tough history that we must overcome and that takes time, but the vast, vast majority of Los Angeles police officers today police in the right ways for the right reasons.”

Beck said he was concerned about the recorded comments of the two officers, and said that a misconduct investigation was opened.

As many as 250 profiling complaints are filed every year, the Times said. Officers are accused of targeting a person solely because of his or her race, ethnicity, religious garb or some other form of outward appearance.

In the letter, the Justice Department expressed “continuing concerns about the overall quality of investigations of biased policing.” Federal officials criticized investigators for “going through the motions” and found they “simply take ordered statements from officers and then run down a checklist of required questions without following up on key points or asking fundamental questions one would expect.”

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • bob Johnson

    They are not going to do anything about it. The Feds just wanna make it seem as if they are doing there job. Its not just the LAPD either.

  • PeteM

    The Justice Dept has the nerve to accuse LAPD about racism! What hypocrisy!

  • Really

    Look, there will always be people with racial bias in any organization, department, etc. It’s just the way of the world. And actually, profiling can be an effective tool; however, it can be abused as well. Even if you are stopped by law enforcement that do abuse the practice, you shouldn’t worry if you’re a law-abiding citizen and your background comes back clean.

    If anything, these two cops need to be disciplined for being so arrogant while be questioned about their practices on the job. That’s where a lot of LAPD troubles are. Too many officers who think their badge gives them absolute authority and that the buck stops with them.



  • Robear

    I am a long-haired, long bearded middle age man. I get pulled over at least once a month by the Sheriff here in Ventura County. For no reason at all. They never give me a ticket or – God forbids – arrest me. My best bet is that they suspect drugs because I look like an old hippie. That’s profiling based on appearance. Very annoying.

    One time the officer said he pulled me over because the trailer hitch ball on my pumper (which had come with the truck when I bought it brand new) was making my license plate hard to read… He must have been Superman with x-ray vision, since he saw that coming from the opposite direction and made a U-turn to pull me over!

    • chris

      lol sucks for you hahaha

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