Racial disparities in LAPD stops fueled by failed crime-fighting strategy, audit finds

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LAPD officers give a man a ticket for an expired registration in South Los Angeles on July 25, 2019.(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

LAPD officers give a man a ticket for an expired registration in South Los Angeles on July 25, 2019.(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

An independent review of hundreds of thousands of stops conducted by Los Angeles police officers last year has found that racial disparities previously identified in a Times investigation were in part the result of failed strategies to use traffic and other minor violations “as a pretext to identify or suppress more serious crimes.”

Those strategies subjected Black and Latino drivers to far more stops than white drivers, even though Black and Latino people were less likely to be caught with contraband, and were “of limited effectiveness in identifying evidence of illegal firearms or other serious crimes,” the report by the LAPD Inspector General Mark Smith’s office found.

In addition, a review of video from nearly 200 stops found that LAPD officers had severely underreported the number of people they had stopped and searched, with officers failing to document searches for 23% of the people seen on video being searched.

That likely means the LAPD underreported the number of stops and searches by its officers to the state, the inspector general found.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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