Activists convinced the mayor that enforcing the law is racist, so there could only be one logical outcome.
Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has ordered the city’s police force to back off on the number of traffic stops they conduct, after the Los Angeles Times declared that one unit has been pulling over a disproportionate number of African Americans.
“I have directed the Chief of Police to prioritize other elements of our comprehensive crime reduction strategy, beyond vehicle stops, until we learn more — so that we can accelerate the reduction in vehicle stops that has been achieved since they peaked a couple of years ago,” Garcetti said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday.
We have made our streets safer with fewer vehicle stops than in recent years, and we have to keep prioritizing what works to both stop crime and strengthen trust,” the mayor added.
The directive was made after the Los Angeles Times published their “findings” that nearly half of the people being pulled over by the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Metropolitan Division have been black.
The African American population in the entire city of Los Angeles is nine percent, but constitute 28 percent of the LAPD’s traffic stops.
Sixty five percent of the motorists stopped in South Los Angeles were black, according to the paper.
That area of the city is 31 percent black.
The number of Metropolitan Division officers doubled in 2015, in an effort to combat violent crime increases in the area through proactive policing tactics.
The number of traffic stops made by the 270-member division increased from approximately 3,000 per year to over 60,000 in 2018.
The Los Angeles Times noted that their review was not proof that law enforcement officers have been racially profiling suspects, but civil rights groups claimed there is no other explanation.
However, no data was provided about the actual rate that black motorists commit violations in relation to other drivers, which could provide an actual explanation.
“To see that echoed in the L.A. Times is cause for alarm, but there is also an opportunity for the LAPD to do something different and change its practices and stop its targeting of African Americans in the city,” Community Coalition CEO Alberto Retana said, calling the findings “gut-wrenching.”
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney Melanie Ochoa said that officers actively searching for people who might be violating the law is proof that “harassment and targeted policing are baked into the way [the department] operates,” the Los Angeles Times reported.