Los Angeles County’s inspector general said Thursday that a Sheriff’s Department team that pulled over thousands of innocent Latino motorists on the 5 Freeway in search of drugs violated the constitutional rights of drivers, and he questioned the reason for the unit’s existence.
In a damning verbal report to the department’s civilian oversight panel, Max Huntsman criticized Sheriff’s Department officials for inadequate supervision of the highway drug unit and for failing to take heed of several federal court rulings that found the deputies on the team violated the rights of motorists by detaining them longer than was reasonable.
Adding that “the initial premise of this drug enforcement team was flawed,” Huntsman said the department had no evidence the unit had had a measurable impact on the flow of drugs from Mexico.
“The system is inherently built to violate the constitutional rights of a vast number of people passing through the I-5 Freeway,” Huntsman said. “That’s a problem.”
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