Photo by Sterling Davis on Unsplash

The Los Angeles City Council directed the police department to develop a plan to handle the uptick in crime as a result of the defund police motion which cut its budget by $150 million last June.

“Violent crime increased dramatically in the city over 2020 from the previous year, with a significant upsurge in shootings and homicides as well as other types of violent crime,” the motion introduced by Councilman Paul Koretz said

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“For the first time since 2009, there were over 300 homicides in the city, and gun crimes are at levels not seen in years,” Koretz said.

The direction to make the police department come up with a plan to address the crime increase won a 12-0 vote.

The police department has begun to utilize “investigative stops” in South Los Angeles due to the increase in shootings and homicides, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Police Chief Michel Moore said officers will conduct these investigative stops based on “information gleaned from crime alerts, real-time statistics and communication with the area commanding officers regarding the most recent crime trends.”

This investigative stop program came to a halt in 2019 when the police department was accused of disproportionately stopping Black drivers. Chief Moore also said the stops were ineffective at that time.

The Community Coalition, an activist group, disagreed with the police department bringing back the investigative stops.

“It’s been tried and it’s still truly ineffective, in addition to being an entryway to the harassment, abuse and murder of Black and Brown people in communities like South Los Angeles… It is extremely disappointing and infuriating to see the LAPD surreptitiously return to this criminalizing strategy of ‘investigative’ vehicle stops that’s been proven with concrete data time and again as largely ineffective and harmful to residents who’re pulled over under the guise of ‘reasonable suspicion.’”

The Community Coalition urged Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Moore to bring an end to the stops.

“We demand an end to these stops. Specifically, we demand an immediate moratoriumon these pretextual stops that are used to initiate a search and racially profile the city’s Black and Brown residents. As part of this request, we demand an immediate withdrawal of the Metro Division from South Los Angeles.”

Bryan Magnum, a father of three, a warehouse foreman, an activist, an artist and a South LA resident said he had his vehicle searched three times in the last two years by the LAPD.

“I want to feel at home in the city that I love… Yet I can’t because I’m seen as a suspect because of my skin color. The stops I experienced should’ve only been citations, but they were instead used as leverage to search my car, violate my rights, profile me because I’m Black, and humiliate me as my neighbors and community members drove by the scene.”

Melina Abdullah, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter LA and police reform activist, said, “The report from the LA Times further affirms what Black folks already know — that we’re targeted and criminalized unjustly at every turn.”

“Worse, though, is the LAPD’s complete unwillingness to recognize that they have a race problem and to take steps to remedy it. We demand immediate and sweeping changes,” Abdullah said.

Alberto Retana, President & CEO of Community Coalition, said the alleged issue of racial discrimination in these investigative stops is an “institutional” problem.

“There are fishing and broad net policies that systematically target Black & Brown people who are going about their everyday business. It’s criminalizing poor folks who aren’t a threat to the community, entangling them in a whole system of fines and fees and continued profiling,” Retana said.

Written ByLinn Win

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