Meeting Examines LAPD Bias, a Complaint Never Once Upheld

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African Americans have significantly less trust in LAPD officers than other residents do, says the Los Angeles Times. A new survey, commissioned by the department, found that less than half of black residents consider the police honest and trustworthy. Only a third believe officers treat people of all races or ethnicities fairly. On Tuesday, police commissioners who oversee the department said they were struck by the disparity in how policing is perceived. One said the results illuminated a “profoundly serious disconnect” between the LAPD and black Angelenos. Another commissioner said the survey underscored the need to improve public trust in police. Their comments came during a commission meeting designed to take on one of the thorniest, most challenging issues facing police across the country, one that continues to frustrate both residents and officers: allegations of racial profiling.

One by one, residents and community activists, both black and Latino, shared stories of moments they felt profiled by police. “They fear the police,” said the Rev. K.W. Tulloss, president of the local chapter of the National Action Network. “They fear interacting with the police because of racial profiling.” It was an unusual move by the Police Commission, devoting its entire weekly meeting to a single topic. But, commissioners said, it was an important conversation to have. Accusations of racial profiling — what the LAPD calls biased policing — are difficult to prove, as they hinge on what an officer is thinking when he or she stops someone. Los Angeles police usually receive a few hundred complaints of biased policing each year, largely from African Americans. Not one such complaint has been upheld, a number that has become more glaring in recent years as residents and police commissioners continue to voice their concerns.

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