Human RightsNorth America

Los Angeles police officers engaged in racial profiling: Report

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An internal inspection shows US police officers in Los Angeles, California engage in the racial profiling of individuals while conducting a controversial surveillance program.

An audit from the city’s inspector general’s office shows that police officers are more likely to target minorities when filing suspicious activity reports (SAR).

The SAR program authorizes the collection of information based on non-criminal behaviors deemed suspicions by the police, including taking pictures or taking notes.

“The majority of suspicious activity reports are being filed on black communities,” said Mary Ellis Saba with the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition.

“Looking at gender, 50 percent of the suspicious activity reports are on black women,” she told Press TV.

About 30 percent of reports were filed on black individuals despite a black population of less than 10 percent in Los Angeles, according to the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition.

Police say the SAR program is an effective anti-terrorism tool that allows them to prevent major crimes before they happen, but activists say the program creates a culture of “suspicion” and “death” that legalizes racism and sexism.

The Stop LAPD Spying Coalition is joining with other community groups to demand an immediate end to the SAR program and calling on police to stop unwarranted surveillances and to close the fusion centers where the reports are stored.

Community groups also want the LAPD to hold public hearings to investigate whether any rights violations took place under the SAR program.

The report comes after months of demonstrations across the US over the killings of unarmed black men by police in New York City and Ferguson.

A recent poll by the Reuters and IPSOS polling organization has found a significant distrust of police in the United States, where many Americans believe police target minorities unfairly and often lie for their own interests.

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