Things That Matter

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

lasdhq / Instagram

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: 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

Share this story by tapping that little share button below.

An LA Shooting Claimed The Lives Of Two Men, A Latino Ph.D Scholar Who Dreamed Of Working For NASA And A Father-To-Be

Things That Matter

An LA Shooting Claimed The Lives Of Two Men, A Latino Ph.D Scholar Who Dreamed Of Working For NASA And A Father-To-Be

José Flores Velázquez / Facebook

In cities across the US, people continue to die due to senseless gun violence. Los Angeles is no stranger to shootouts and, unfortunately, three more people fell victim to gun fire on Wednesday – leaving two of them dead and their friends and family in mourning. 

The shooting spree took place in South Los Angeles and one of the victims has been identified as a talented scholar full of big dreams. 

Gun violence has struck again in Los Angeles, killing two and injuring a third.

Two men were killed and another injured  in a drive-by shooting into a vehicle in South LA.

When police arrived at the scene, they found two men with multiple gunshot wounds. One of the men was pronounced dead at the scene. The second was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. A third man, suffering from a single gunshot wound, was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released.

Investigators said the two deceased victims were standing outside of a parked car when the suspect’s vehicle drove up and a passenger opened fire, striking both men. The suspect shot the third victim a short distance away as the suspects fled the scene. 

Police are still investigating the motive for the shooting.

One of the victims was Jose Flores Velazquez who was working towards his doctorate at UC Irvine.

Distraught family members who arrived at the scene told KTLA the man who died there was Jose Flores. He and the second man killed, Alfredo Carrera, grew up together six houses apart on the street where they were shot.

Carrera, meanwhile, was about to become a first-time father with his girlfriend, his aunt Michelle Garcia said.

The baby shower was set for Saturday, Garcia added.

Family said Carrera had been shot at least once in his back.

Investigators have yet to release information on the suspects and declined to release a description of the vehicle involved. The relatives say they have no idea who would want to target the men.

Police say the men were victims of a drive by shooting.

A 911 caller told officials a vehicle drove up and the passenger pulled out a handgun. An argument ensued, then shots rang out, said Lt. Derrick Alfred.

It appears that they had driven up and were saying goodbye outside the car to each other when the car drove up (and) some words were exchanged,” Rubenstein said. “Somebody from inside the suspect vehicle fired multiple rounds, striking both the men.”

Velazquez was a nationally recognized scholar who eventually wanted to work for NASA.

Flores was a physics doctoral student at UC Irvine and had his sights set on a job at NASA, a family member told KTLA.

“He was one of the most hardworking people I’ve ever met,” said a former sister-in-law at the scene who asked not to be named.

Many took to social media to share their shock and died about the loss of such an accomplished young man who was full of dreams.

While fellow grad students shared in their disbelief.

People who knew Velazquez have been sharing memories and talking about what a kind and caring person he was. They also talk about his many talents, skills, and dreams – of which, he had many.

If you’d like to support Velazquez’ family during this time, they have a GoFundMe page setup here

Ted Cruz Couldn’t Of Been Expecting This When He Showed Up For His Flight At LAX

Things That Matter

Ted Cruz Couldn’t Of Been Expecting This When He Showed Up For His Flight At LAX

@naomimonster1 / Twitter

People are hyper-aware of the detention centers on the southern border and how the overcrowding and indefinite detentions are harming children. This awareness has touched all parts of American society and people. The frustration over the treatment of children on the southern border bubbled over this week when protesters confronted Texas Senator Ted Cruz as he waited for a flight at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Texas Senator Ted Cruz was on the receiving end of angry protesters while waiting for a flight at LAX.

Credit: @naomimonster1 / Twitter

It isn’t immediately clear what started the confrontation, but it is clear that people were ready to tell the senator what they think of his job. Cruz was confronted while waiting for a flight and the protesters first shouted all of their various frustrations. Soon, all of the protesters were on the same page demanding that the U.S. government “free the children” while some people posed for selfies with the senator.

Cruz represents one of the states in the middle of the migrant crisis. Last month, the world learned about the atrocious and inhumane conditions in the detention facility in Clint, Texas.

People responded to the viral video with their own thoughts about the protesters shouting at Cruz.

Credit: @TerriSm52142746 / Twitter

Welcome to California, indeed. Californians have made their views known about the Trump administration and the migrant crisis at the border. California recently approved a bill that would extend healthcare to undocumented immigrants. One that Cruz at one point defended and promoted.

Others pointed out Cruz’s reaction to being shouted at by the protesters.

Credit: @not_ster / Twitter

While concerned Americans voiced their thoughts to Cruz, he found it amusing, according to some people watching the video. As people confronted the senator, some people can be seen taking up for him and even getting between him and the protesters. Some even took the opportunity to take selfies and photos with him.

It seems like a good opportunity for Cruz to see how other people feel about his politics when not surrounded by people who agree with him.

Credit: @mindmysanity / Twitter

There is a problem with echo chambers and bubbles when it comes to American politics right now. Facebook has been implicated in exacerbating the problem after Cambridge Analytica abused the system and tools to sway voters through misinformation. The Netflix documentary “Great Hack” implied that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg willfully ignored the dangers posed by the data-mining company.

There has been a growing sense of civil unrest and protests as some states try to silence dissenters.

Credit: @DebdLun / Twitter

According to the Washington Post, 17 states have introduced legislation attempting to make protesting a criminal activity by banning the use of masks during protests, seizing the property of people in protests that run violent, and, in some cases, indemnifying drivers who use their car to hit protesters blocking roads. Those states are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.

People are calling on Texas voters to vote Cruz out of office.

Credit: @patriciaself / Twitter

Ted Cruz barely won reelection in 2018 against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. The fact that a Republican almost lost their seat in the Senate to a Democrat in Texas sent shockwaves through the political world. O’Rourke is now running for the presidential nomination as part of the Democratic party.

Some Texans even showed their support of the protesters.

Credit: @DelfinaValdez8 / Twitter

According to the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, 47 percent of Texans approve and 39 percent of Texans disapprove of Cruz’s job in the U.S. Senate. When broken down by race, 55 percent of white voters approve of the Senators job while 45 percent of Black voters and 43 percent of Latino voters disapprove of Cruz’s job.

This isn’t the first time Cruz has been called out on his positions in public.

Credit: @CopeMay / Twitter

In September 2018, Cruz and his wife were out to eat at a restaurant in Washington and were confronted by protesters because of his support of Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing was a highly charged moment in U.S. politics as he was accused of raping a girl when he was a teenager.

Some people are waiting for history and karma to do their things.

Credit: @KatrinaHagen2 / Twitter

The saying goes that history is written by the winners. However, with a digital world in which misinformation and lies reign supreme, how will history be written? We have seen examples of history being manipulated from state to state to paint a political image rather than an accurate portrayal of the events. How will we guarantee that history is left nonpartisan and honest for generations to come?

Regardless, the Twitter thread is filled with people celebrating that use of #FreeTheChildren as a rallying cry.

Free the children is something most Americans should be able to agree with. There is no reason why children should die of the flu while in U.S. immigration custody.

Watch the confrontation below!

What do you think about the way protesters confronted Cruz at LAX?

READ: Ted Cruz’s Legal Team Believes That His Fight For $10,000 Is The Same As Rosa Parks’s Fight For Civil Rights

Paid Promoted Stories