LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – An investigation has reportedly been launched into whether Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies racially profiled thousands of innocent Latino drivers while searching for drugs on the 5 Freeway.
The announcement Monday follows a report in the Los Angeles Times that two-thirds of drivers pulled over on that freeway by the LASD highway enforcement team between 2012 and 2017 were Latino.
The Times reports County Supervisor Hilda Solis asked the inspector general and the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission to launch the review of the department’s Domestic Highway Enforcement Team.
“It’s deeply concerning that racial profiling could have been used on Latino drivers,” Solis told The Times in a statement, adding the report warrants a deeper investigation.
Sheriff Jim McDonnell reportedly said in a statement he was proud of the team’s work, which included confiscating 3,500 pounds of drugs and rescuing six victims of human trafficking in more than 9,000 stops.
“As someone who has dedicated my career to protecting the civil rights of all people, I am personally concerned about any allegation of racial and ethnic profiling and take very seriously questions about race and police procedures,” McDonnell said.
Inspector General Max Huntsman declined to comment on the scope of the review or how long it would take, according to The Times.
Deputies on the team have reportedly denied racial profiling.