Black, Latino firefighters call for investigation of alleged racial bias at LAFD

Local news
Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas and Mayor Eric Garcetti, left, are seen at a news conference in 2014. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas and Mayor Eric Garcetti, left, are seen at a news conference in 2014. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Leaders of two organizations of Black and Latino members of the Los Angeles Fire Department have called for a federal investigation into what they allege is widespread racial bias and other wrongdoing in the agency’s treatment of employees.

The demand for an inquiry by the U.S. attorney’s office follows a Times report this week on allegations that a high-ranking white official in the LAFD received preferential treatment after he was reported to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while on duty at the department’s headquarters.

In a letter Wednesday to acting U.S. Atty. Tracy Wilkison, Assistant Chief Patrick Butler, president of the Latino firefighters group Los Bomberos, wrote that the case involving Chief Deputy Fred Mathis “is just one of many examples that we have come to know, which demonstrates a pattern and practice of corruption and potential violations of civil rights within the Los Angeles Fire Department.”

“We all want and demand accountability and transparency from our civic leaders and government services,” he wrote. “The men and women of the LAFD deserve nothing less.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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