LAPD Is More Diverse, but Distrust in the Community Remains

Angel Jennings, Los Angeles Times, March 28, 2015

The sweeps came on Friday nights in South Los Angeles, often before big events like Raiders games. Police would round up young men they thought were gang members and hold them over the weekend to keep violence down, a campaign launched by then-Chief Daryl F. Gates to control “the rotten little cowards.”

Francisco McClure recalled being arrested several times, only to be released the following Monday mornings without being charged. For the young black man, the fact that most of the officers were white made the experience even more bitter.

The martial arts instructor, 50, these days sees more Latino and black faces patrolling his community of Jefferson Park, and he says the officers don’t hassle residents as much. He commends them for holding neighborhood forums and using more dashboard cameras.

But, he said, “they just cleaned up their act a little. Before it was white against blacks. Now it’s just blue against blacks.”

The Los Angeles Police Department often is cited as an example of how recruiting nonwhite officers can improve community relations. The LAPD, once a predominantly white institution, now closely mirrors the city’s demographics and is majority nonwhite–from the glass offices at headquarters to patrol cars working the beat.

There is wide agreement that the transformation has helped, turning even some longtime LAPD critics into supporters.

“The department has moved away from being an occupying force in South L.A. and East L.A. to one that interacts and is more representative of those communities,” said John Mack, a veteran civil rights leader who recently served as a police commissioner.


But Mack and others also acknowledge that a more diverse police force has not extinguished distrust in the community it serves.

From Ferguson, Mo., to New York City, protests in recent months have focused on white officers using deadly force on blacks. LAPD shootings of black men have also sparked demonstrations, but those protests have focused on the race of the people shot and allegations of police bias–and not the race of the officers involved.


Police Chief Charlie Beck is often credited with being a guiding force in helping to improve community relations in South Los Angeles over the last 15 years.

Beck said there are always going to be allegations of mistreatment in a department “that involves a million contacts” with the public each year.

The goal, he said, is to become more deeply involved in the community so that conflicts between police and residents are viewed as isolated incidents, not signs that the department as a whole treats people unfairly.

Command staff recently underwent eight hours of “implicit bias training” to recognize the subconscious prejudices they might hold. The department also runs a large cadet program as well as a magnet program in five high schools across the city that aims to teach and mentor students interested in careers in law enforcement.

Beck pointed to the work of a cadre of officers who have made inroads in Jordan Downs, a housing project with a violent reputation and history of ill will between residents and police. Officers help with a Girl Scout troop, take kids camping and talk to gang members about getting jobs and leaving the streets.


Even with a more diverse police department, officers continue to use force on blacks out of proportion to their numbers in the city. Blacks represent 9% of the city’s population but account for 19% of police shootings and 31% of less serious use-of-force cases. About half the complaints filed with the LAPD alleging biased policing involve interactions with black men, records show.

Beck said there is no simple explanation for those numbers. Race, he said, is just one factor, along with poverty and education levels, employment and neighborhood crime rates. Although blacks make up a small percentage of the city overall, they make up a much larger percentage of residents in higher-crime neighborhoods.


But in Los Angeles, Latinos make up about 45% of the force, more than any other group. Whites, who accounted for 61% of the department 25 years ago, are now about a third of sworn officers. Asian Americans are a quickly growing demographic in the LAPD, about 9.6%, as they are in Southern California; they constitute 11% of L.A.’s population.


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  • Dave West

    File me under the “I don’t care” category!

    As far as i’m concerned, LA is a post-American third world society, I want nothing to do with it. I was in LA last spring; I describe LA as a place with pockets of first world civilization where people of any race can find success if they have the ability. While cursing down the freeway, If one ignores the pollution and 70 foot palm trees, they might catch a glimpse of the real third world Los Angeles. All this story proves is that blacks do poorly whether the “power structure” is made up of whites, browns, or fellow blacks.

    • Race Heretic

      LA is like any other Latin American city. Pockets of European civilization, surrounded by African and Amerindian savagery.

      • newscomments70

        It has become expensive as hell, even in gang-infested neighborhoods. I believe it is due to the immigrant population explosion and the expulsion of the blacks. I don’t mean to sound like a liberal, but places in formerly black neighborhoods are seeing business growth and improved schools for the first time in decades. One of the younger guys in my martial arts class is a young Mexican man from Watts. He is a chemistry teacher and grad student. He did well in the AP classes at LA unified (in Watts, of all places). He actually does know his stuff. He is not an AA placeholder.

        • Race Heretic

          Mestizos make a better civilization than blacks, that’s for sure. However, the added intelligence and organization allow them to kill much more effectively – which is why Latin American countries have higher murder rates than black countries.

  • superlloyd

    Blacks want to be free to exercise their criminality with impunity and their’ leaders’ are behind them all the way in this. Diversity in the Police Force as well as in every other arena means a lack of unity, more corruption and more stupidity. The undertow’s opinion is the least important to the law abiding citizenry and should be resolutely ignored after all they do not pay the costs of rampant , black criminality and savagery.

  • What is conveniently left out here is how blacks are being pushed out of Los Angeles at almost break neck speed. Police-community relations tend to improve by default when the community is less and less constituted by the black undertow with every passing year.

  • MekongDelta69

    You want to stop black crime?

    Bring back Gates…

    • Michael Whalen

      Or Chief William F. Parker.

      • ozamataz

        Or slavery.

        • John Smith

          Or send them back.

      • Fathercoughlin

        Or Hitler.

  • richard garyson

    Whites need to go out own way and keep our resources out of their communities.

  • LHathaway

    “distrust in the community”? This statement out of LA could have come out of any city newspaper anywhere in Europe. Cities where, even after living their for thousands of years, even after violent revolution, no one their has talks the White community. If you’re White, you do what the authorities and city government say. And you’re even ‘privileged’ (and have no reason to object to anything) these days, at that. Some are considered to count by our overlords and are considered people. Other’s don’t count. As far as Europe is concerned, what a slap in the face to those who have lived and died their for thousands of years.

  • Hilis Hatki

    With the way its going out there, soon the law will need no stinking badges.

  • libertarian1234

    To hear them tell it all they needed to do was get whitey out and install non-white paragons of virtue and their community relations problems are solved.

    Well, good for them. Now they can smile all the way to prison.

    Now how long is it going to be before they start fighting with each other over one thing or another with a situation that is ten times worse than at any time in their history?

    Because it’s coming as surely as the sun rises in the East.

    • Hilis Hatki

      white America is the only thing keeping all this diversity together.

      • Rhialto

        More like the hatred of White America!

  • TruthBeTold

    But, he said, “they just cleaned up their act a little. Before it was white against blacks. Now it’s just blue against blacks.”

    It was always about law and order verses urban chaos and it always will be.

    • InAFreeCountry

      Not so much law and order vs urban chaos, but blacks against law and order.

  • Hammerheart

    White America, whatever is left of her, is an entirely different America than that of ghetto culture America. Many of these people subject to policing have never had jobs, spend the majority of their welfare benefits on drugs and tattoos, believe in a world of here say and rumor, their thoughts dominated by baby mamas, low riders, and drugs.

    White America shouldn’t be obligated to keep these people from killing each other. It’s a bad joke. It’s a waste of time, resources, and lives.

  • LexiconD1

    Raphael Perez, Christopher Commission, Rodney King/Riots, O.J. Simpson, and the Christopher Dorner situation/fallout have done a number on the LAPD.

    They have so lowered the bar to make this possible, that NO ONE should trust any member of the LAPD. A lot of their newer recruits would have never ever passed the background check, much less the psychological tests. So we’re left with lousy police. Some who are ‘gang’ members, and I don’t mean for the boys in blue, either.

    • John Smith

      They need warm bodies who fill a diversity quota and don’t have any un-expunged felonies on their record.

      • LexiconD1

        Exactly, that was the point of my post. The police have LOWERED the bar so low is practically touching the ground to obtain that diversity, look at the POS we now have for officers. And, I’m not going to lie (my uncles, two of them, we both LAPD. One was a motorcycle cop, the other a Rampart Homicide Detective. Yes, that Rampart Division.), they didn’t hire great people to begin with.

        Now they’ll hire you if you have a shady background, gang affiliations, a RECORD, can’t pass the psych evaluation, or the psychical evaluation. It’s pathetic.
        Same with our prison guards.

        No ‘un-expunged record’ needed.

        ‘Diverse’ police are not ‘respected’ around here. By EVERYONE, including, and especially, their own…

  • Let’s just face it: Blacks won’t be happy until there’s absolutely NO police presence in their so-called ‘communities.’ A mostly white police force has been run out of town. Now they have all the blacks and Hispanics that one can shake a voodoo doll at and they’re STILL not happy!

    I can tell you this, though, the minute a police presence is removed from their L.A. ghettos and barrios, the same people will be back out crying about the police ‘not caring’ about poor, ‘disenfranchised’ minorities. You can’t win with these folks!

  • A Freespeechzone

    Let’s face it, blacks and minorities demand the ‘right’ to act like animals, attack, rape, murder and loot anytime and any where without any restraint or accountability.

    Moreover, they demand the right to demand and obtain prosecution by the WH, DOJ and stacked courts against anyone, specifically LE or Whites who might legitimatelyinvoke self-defense in a violent attack.

    Until, or unless the masses demand change and accountability, black and minority violence and actions will be embolden to the next level.

  • Americaandthewestshouldbewhite

    LA is Mexico

    • InAFreeCountry

      Reconquista of Aztlan.

  • I’m a little dumb, so I don’t understand why following the clues, and, looking in places where similar crimes are committed, and, investigating people previously convicted of the same crimes, and, searching the communities that displays complimentary, unorthodox behaviors, is considered a bad idea. Profiling they call it. WTF? I’m beginning to think blacks want no law enforcement – like Chicago! It appears they want the freedom to flaunt the law and commit crimes with no consequences. Why not? Go for it. Keep the police safely out of those neighborhoods. Let them do what they want and live with the results. If whites and police are not complicit in the implosion, they cannot be blamed – logically. I know…

  • John Smith

    Considering it’s blacks against civilization, why not blue against black? Since most officers are now Latins, I guess negroes are getting their comeuppance to the fact that Juan and Jose hate them too.