LAPD May Get Options On Monitoring Racial Profiling

Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times, Feb. 16, 2007

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In his quarterly report on the department’s compliance with a federal consent decree mandating LAPD reforms, Independent Monitor Michael Cherkasky said the agency might be able to meet the requirement for checking on racial profiling by methods other than the one currently used to collect data.

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Also, it might cost up to $25 million to put video cameras in all patrol cars.

Still, Police Commission President John Mack welcomed the possibility that the city could find a less costly and more effective way to check for profiling.

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Officers who have pulled over cars have had to use electronic devices to record the ethnicity and other details of motorists, but Mack said it has been “fruitless” because the vast amount of raw data has not allowed the department to determine whether officers acted improperly.

“The data suggested that blacks and Hispanics were being stopped far more frequently than whites and, moreover, that intrusive after-stop actions of officers were likewise disparate,” Cherkasky wrote in the new report.

“The monitor acknowledged that the disparate treatment reflected in the statistics might be explained other than as an indication of biased policing and that additional analysis was required in order to attempt to explain the disparities.”

That analysis failed to explain the discrepancies in numbers or to determine whether racial profiling was taking place—leading the city to begin exploring less expensive and more effective options such as video cameras.

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