Things That Matter

Officials Are Investigating Accusations That The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputies Engaged In Racial Profiling

An investigation has been launched into whether Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies engaged in racial profiling against thousands of Latino drivers while on the 5 Freeway. According to a report by the LA Times, 69 percent of drivers who were stopped between 2012 and 2017 as part of a police operation were of Latino descent. County Supervisor Hilda Solis requested the inspector general and Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission begin a investigative review of the sheriff’s Domestic Highway Enforcement team.

Two-thirds of cars searched by the LA County sheriff’s Domestic Highway Enforcement Team were of Latinos, a rate far higher than other racial groups.

The report shows that sheriff’s deputies searched the cars of more than 3,500 drivers. A majority of the driver were Latino and didn’t have any illegal items. Deputies conducted searches of Latinos’ vehicles during two-thirds of the stops, while other drivers had their cars searched less than half of the time The statistics are alarming and have caught the attention of various watchdog groups who are calling for an investigation into the report.

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department denies that officers were engaged in racial profiling and praised the amount of drugs seized by officers during their operations. According to the report, officers confiscated “more than a ton of methamphetamine, 2 tons of marijuana, 600 pounds of cocaine, millions of dollars in suspected drug money.”

“We do not racially profile. We make stops based on behaviors and vehicle code violations, not ethnicity,” Assistant Sheriff Eddie Rivero said in a statement released after the LA Times article was published.

County Supervisor Hilda Solis says the report is “concerning.

“It’s deeply concerning that racial profiling could have been used on Latino drivers,” Solis said in a statement to the Associated Press. Solis says she wants the inspector general and a civilian oversight commission to investigate the enforcement team, which is made up of four white male deputies.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell said he would work with investigators to fix any concerns.

“As someone who has dedicated my career to protecting the civil rights of all people, I am personally concerned about any allegation of racial and ethnic profiling and take very seriously questions about race and police procedures,” McDonnell told the AP.

The traffic stops were conducted along a 40-mile stretch of Interstate-5 that officials say was a major pipeline for cartels to move narcotics.

Credit: LA Times

The enforcement team, which was stationed on Interstate 5, was formed in response to a spike in drug overdoses in the Santa Clarita area. The area of the highway where officers were stationed spans roughly 40 miles of freeway from just south of Santa Clarita to the border of Kern County. Deputies say that section of Interstate 5 is a huge source for cartels to move drugs along the West Coast and return to Mexico.

The investigative reports’ findings come as no surprise to many that know the racial history of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department has had a history of problems, from issues around racial profiling to brutality in local jails. That’s why it came as no surprise to Peter Bibring, senior staff attorney and director of police practices at the ACLU of Southern California. Bibring told L.A. Taco that the department’s problems with racial profiling are well-documented and sees this is an abuse in power.

“The department has a long history of these problems,” Bibring said. “I think one of the concerns of a program like this that seems to involve behavior by deputies that had been flagged by courts and still continues raises concerns that the department has a culture that tolerates this behavior.”


READ: A New Study Finds Latinos Believe In The American Dream But That It Has Become Too Hard To Achieve

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New Netflix Docuseries Explores The Summer The Night Stalker Terrorized Los Angeles

Entertainment

New Netflix Docuseries Explores The Summer The Night Stalker Terrorized Los Angeles

Richard Ramirez, a.k.a. The Night Stalker, spent the summer of 1985 terrorizing Los Angeles. Ramirez murdered 13 people during his reign of terror in Southern California. Netflix’s new docuseries is exploring the crime by interviewing law enforcement and family of the victims.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial” killer is now streaming on Netflix.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer” is the latest Netflix docuseries diving into the true crimes that have shaped American society. Richard Ramirez is one of the most prolific serial killers of all time and single-handedly terrorized Los Angeles during the summer of 1985.

Ramirez fundamentally changed Los Angeles and the people who live there. The serial killer was an opportunistic killer. He would break into homes using unlocked doors and opened windows. Once inside, he would rape, murder, rob, and assault the people inside the home.

The documentary series explores just how Ramirez was able to keep law enforcement at bay for so long. The killer did not have a standard modus operandi. His victims ran the gamut of gender, age, and race. There was no indicator as to who could be next. He also rarely used the same weapon when killing his victims. Some people were stabbed to death while others were strangled and others still were bludgeoned.

While not the first telling of Ramirez’s story, it is the most terrifying account to date.

“Victims ranged in age from 6 to 82,” director Tiller Russell told PEOPLE. “Men, women, and children. The murder weapons were wildly different. There were guns, knives, hammers, and tire irons. There was this sort of feeling that whoever you were, that anybody could be a victim and anybody could be next.”

Family members of the various victims speak in the documentary series about learning of the horror committed to them. People remember grandparents and neighbors killed by Ramirez. All the while, police followed every lead to make sure they left no stone unturned.

“Night Stalker: The Hunt For a Serial Killer” is now streaming on Netflix.

READ: Here’s How An East LA Neighborhood Brought Down One Of America’s Most Notorious Serial Killers

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Video of an Anti-Mask Mob Storming a Los Angeles Grocery Store and Angrily Confronting Customers Goes Viral

Things That Matter

Video of an Anti-Mask Mob Storming a Los Angeles Grocery Store and Angrily Confronting Customers Goes Viral

Screenshot via SamBraslow/Twitter

We may have officially left 2020 behind us, but the drama surrounding the pandemic is still alive and well in 2021. As safety precautions like social distancing and masks remain in place in order to curb the spread of the virus, COVID-deniers and anti-maskers have become further emboldened.

But there hasn’t been such a blatant and obnoxious display of anti-masker activism as what happened recently in Los Angeles.

On Monday, a video went viral of an anti-mask woman screaming and appearing to attack a young man in the grocery store.

The video shows an anti-mask woman angrily running after a young man wearing a mask, at one point trying to plow him down with a shopping cart. As she charges towards him, she cusses at him and accuses him of having tried to hit her. There is no footage of the alleged hitting.

The woman follows the man throughout the grocery store as he tries to get away from her. She continues to strike at and scream at him. At one point, the young man tries to ask a security guard for help to no avail. More anti-mask protestors surround him and yell at him as he tries to distance himself from the situation.

The video was one of many incidents incited by an anti-mask mob in Los Angeles on Sunday.

The mob stormed Los Angeles’s Century City mall and nearby Ralph’s grocery store on Sunday. The group held pro-Trump and anti-mask signs, as well as signs that expressed doubt over the severity of the coronavirus.

In a Twitter thread, reporter Samuel Braslow documented the hours long “protest” of a group of anti-maskers. As the group swarmed the popular Los Angeles Century City mall, they were loud, relentless, and sometimes violent. They yelled inflammatory rhetoric such as “F–k communist China!”.

The Twitter thread also shows the mob storming into a Bloomingdales and chanting “No more masks!”. At one point, a few members of the group start performing a “MAGA” version of the YMCA.

The incident in the grocery store wasn’t the only time that the group had aggressive run-ins with onlookers.

Various videos show the group getting into various arguments, including with a food court worker, a shopper walking with his girlfriend, and an emotional woman who revealed to them that her mother was in the hospital with COVID-19. A male protestor responded: “A lot of people are. That’s life. People die. Your father [sic] is not special.”

While the LAPD and mall security ended up closely monitoring the situation, they never tried to arrest the protestors or force them to leave. According to Braslow, they opted to instead only intervene “when necessary”.

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