Racial and Ethnic Tensions in American Communities:
Poverty, Inequality, and Discrimination

Volume V: The Los Angeles Report


Chapter 7

Findings and Recommendations


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Update on Christopher Commission Reforms

Chapter 3: Racial and Gender Bias in the Los Angeles Police Department

Chapter 4: Los Angeles Sheriff's Department

Chapter 5: The Relationship of Local Law Enforcement with Los Angeles Immigrant Communities

Chapter 6: The Federal Role: Pattern or Practice Authority


Chapter 1: Introduction

Police-Community Relations in an Increasingly Diverse Los Angeles

Findings

1.1 From a major metropolitan area that was over 80 percent non-Hispanic white in 1960, Los Angeles has been transformed into a city and county that is majority minority. U.S. Census data from 1990 show that neither the city of Los Angeles nor Los Angeles County now has any ethnic majority, although Hispanics seem likely to hit the 50 percent mark within the foreseeable future. In the city, approximately 39.9 percent of the population is of Hispanic origin, 37.3 percent of the city's residents are white non-Hispanic, 13 percent black non-Hispanic, 9.2 percent Asian, 0.3 percent American Indian and 0.3 percent other race. In Los Angeles County, 40.8 percent of the population is white non-Hispanic, 37.8 percent Hispanic, 10.6 percent black non-Hispanic, 10.2 percent Asian or Pacific Islander, 0.3 percent American Indian, and 0.3 percent other race.

1.2 Los Angeles has received more immigrants than any other city in the United States during the past several decades. As a result, Los Angeles has become a city of immigrants: Roughly 1 in 10 Los Angeles County residents immigrated to the United States after 1985, and roughly 17 percent arrived after 1980. Even these figures may underestimate the total immigrant population in Los Angeles, because immigration statistics, as well as census counts of the population, cannot estimate the undocumented immigrant population as accurately as they can the documented newcomers. Between 1970 and 1990 the proportion of foreign-born residents in Los Angeles County increased from 11 to approximately 33 percent, or 2,895,000 people. In the city of Los Angeles 38.4 percent of the population in 1992 was foreign born. Los Angeles continues to be a magnet for immigrants in the 1990s. Of the nearly 1 million immigrants admitted to the United States in fiscal year 1992, 130,000 indicated Los Angeles as their intended place of residence and another 60,000 selected the counties of Orange, Ventura, Riverside, and San Bernadino. Moreover, Los Angeles attracts a large number of undocumented immigrants, probably more than any other place in the United States, due to its proximity to the Mexican border. The Los Angeles region accounted for one-third of all the estimated undocumented immigrants during the 1980 census. Of the 1.8 million who applied for permanent resident status under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) in 1990, 35 percent resided in Los Angeles County. In the Los Angeles region as a whole there were over 750,000 applicants for legalization. As of January 1992, it was estimated that there were as many as 1.5 million people who either received amnesty or were still unauthorized residents in Los Angeles.

1.3 Significant immigration from Mexico, Asia, and Latin America has, in addition to diversifying the racial and ethnic makeup of the Los Angeles area, greatly increased the variety of languages spoken in Los Angeles. There are approximately 160 languages spoken in Los Angeles County. The largest and most rapidly growing language groups in Los Angeles are also the fastest growing in the Nation. Spanish stands alone in size, establishment, and institutionalization, followed by rapidly expanding but still comparatively small Asian language groups. Use of Spanish and Asian languages in Los Angeles has roughly doubled in a decade. According to the 1990 U.S. census, in the city of Los Angeles, 49.9 percent of the population speak a language other than English at home. Approximately 17.5 percent of the city's population does not speak English well. In Los Angeles County, 45.4 percent of the population speak a language other than English at home. This is a rate well above traditionally polyglot New York (29 percent) and over three times the national average (14 percent). Moreover, 25 percent do not speak English well in Los Angeles County, a rate which is nearly twice as high as New York's (13 percent). The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) face a significant challenge in communicating with a large portion of city and county residents who are relative newcomers to the United States and do not speak English well, if at all.

Recommendation:

Chapter 2: Update on Christopher Commission Reforms

Use of Excessive Force

Findings

2.1 Historically, the strained relationship between local minority residents and the LAPD has repeatedly focused the Nation's spotlight on the city of Los Angeles. Observers who have witnessed or studied various confrontations between police officers and minorities in Los Angeles have contended that the department's use of excessive force significantly contributes to this tenuous relationship. Concomitantly, police officers cite factors such as suspects' increased use of drugs and violent behavior to explain their use of varying degrees of force. Although implementation of reforms recommended by both the McCone and the Christopher Commissions have begun, perceptions and incidents of the department's application of excessive force towards people of color continue to occur in Los Angeles. As a result, lingering racial and ethnic tensions between minorities and law enforcement authorities remain.

2.2 A Christopher Commission survey of LAPD police officers revealed inter alia that "64% [of the respondents] said a 'lack of verbal communication skills may lead to the use of excessive force.'" Other sources, such as witness testimony elicited from the September 1996 Los Angeles hearing and a related recommendation from the Minnesota Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Police Practices in the Twin Cities (1981)) confirmed that additional training in conflict resolution and mediation could offer alternatives to use of excessive force.

Recommendation:

Finding

2.3 Previously, the LAPD's policies canine policies generated a number of complaints of biased deployment against minorities, which resulted in several injuries. The LAPD revised its canine deployment and reporting policies and changed its K-9 Platoon's training approach from a "find and bite" method to a "find and bark" strategy. This modification has reduced injuries to suspects, lost individuals, and police officers. Further, a review of the department's K-9 Summary Report for July 1, 1995, though June 30, 1996, indicated that the greatest number of canine deployments occurred in the Newton division, and the highest number of canine physical contacts occurred in the Southwest division.

Recommendation:

Finding

2.4 Current legal precedent on law enforcement authorities' use of force maintain that police officers should use "reasonable" force based on viewpoint of a "reasonable officer on the scene." Similarly, LAPD use of force policies emphasize that police officers should not resort to force unless all other "reasonable alternatives have been exhausted or would clearly be ineffective under the circumstances." Determining the "reasonableness" of the type and amount of force that should be applied therefore lies with the police officer.

Recommendation:

Finding

2.5 A study of the department's use of Oleoresin Capsicum (OC or pepper spray) indicated that it is frequently used on African Americans and Hispanics. Overexposure to OC and exposure to pepper spray for individuals with preexisting respiratory, mental, or drug-related illnesses have been fatal to some individuals. However, the department's use of OC as a "nonlethal" use of force has increased in the past few years. Fatalities have also resulted from the combined practice of exposing suspects to pepper spray and subduing them by using the hobbling technique. Although the Police Commission recently prohibited the department from using hobbling as a restraint procedure, other police representatives in the Nation contend that without its use, violent or overly aggressive suspects will more likely be injured.

Recommendation:

Finding

2.6 A recent bank robbery in the North Hollywood section of Los Angeles demonstrated that the suspects used automatic weapons and protective body armor to withstand gunfire from law enforcement authorities. The LAPD's arsenal was not equipped with automatic weapons to confront these individuals. In response, legislation is pending that would prohibit the mail order sale of body armor, while the department has purchased M-16 weapons.

Recommendation:

The Code of Silence

Finding

2.7 The "code of silence" continues to be a barrier to eradicating excessive force and discriminatory treatment in the LAPD.

Recommendation:

Racism and Bias

Finding

2.8 Historically, the department has had a strained relationship with Los Angeles' minority communities. In addition, the Christopher Commission also reported that bias exists within the LAPD against minority, female, and gay police officers. Although reform efforts have focused on reducing this problem, complaints of discriminatory treatment continue.

Recommendations:

Civilian Complaints

Finding

2.9 The public's access to civilian complaint forms has improved since the time of the Christopher Commission's report. Complaint forms are now located in nearly all department divisions. However, some police officers maintain that greater access to civilian complaint forms will encourage false complaints against police officers. Outstanding issues that remain include: residents may not be aware of the status of their complaints or how to file a complaint; the department's Internal Affairs Department may not be adequately staffed to appropriately handle increasingly complex allegations and the volume of complaints; and the Office of the Inspector General and the department have differing methodologies in determining the actual number of civilian complaints.

Recommendations:

Officer Discipline

Findings

2.10 The Inspector General's Office and the special counsel to the Police Commission have recommended that the "miscellaneous memorandum" procedure be discontinued, due to an unbalanced application of this classification. The OIG's preliminary findings indicated that command staff received more miscellaneous memorandum classifications than rank-and-file officers. Rank-and-file officers also generally maintain that they are punished more severely than command officers for similar infractions, which ultimately affects police morale. 2.11 The Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act was recently enacted in California, which would prohibit punitive action from being taken against officers or denying them promotions for alleged infractions, if investigations of their complaints lasted longer than 1 year. Testimony revealed that it is unclear what impact this act will have on determining officers' potential behavior patterns (towards use of excessive force), if prior complaint history cannot be examined.

Recommendations:

Community Relations and Community Policing

Finding

2.12 The Christopher Commission recommended that the LAPD institute a "community policing" model and philosophy, which focused upon including the input of neighborhood residents in solving those concerns that potentially contribute to crime. Initial efforts have yielded mixed results: CPABs have been established in local Los Angeles areas, and it is reported that some communities have an improved relationship with the LAPD (i.e., the Wilshire division, South Bureau area, the Hollenbeck/East Los Angeles sections, and the Valley). However, it has also been reported that not all of the department's police officers support the concept of community policing. In addition, there is a need for additional efforts for police officers to become more knowledgeable about diverse cultures, in order to improve relationships with immigrant communities.

Recommendations:

Chapter 3: Racial and Gender Bias in the Los Angeles Police Department

Racial and Gender Bias

Findings

3.1 Gender bias has been, and continues to be, a significant problem within the Los Angeles Police Department as it is in other law enforcement agencies. Commissions, task forces, consultants, and police leadership have acknowledged problems of gender bias within the Los Angeles Police Department. Internal LAPD studies indicate significant numbers of women within the department who feel that sex discrimination and harassment are major problems facing the LAPD. An inquiry into working conditions for females in the West Los Angeles area revealed that an informal group of men who formed an association called Men Against Women "inhibited women from safely and effectively performing their duties and created fear in many women that these male officers would not provide back-up if they requested it in the field." An internal LAPD task force set up to investigate Mark Fuhrman's allegations of misconduct called the behavior towards women in the West Los Angeles station egregious and noted that it was unconscionable that supervisors and managers either directly or tacitly allowed the hostile environment to occur for nearly 10 years.

3.2 Signs of gender bias within the LAPD have continued even more recently. In July 1997, interim Chief Bayan Lewis said that he was launching a thorough audit of the entire LAPD to ferret out hostile work environments after pictures of scantily clad women and a crudely fashioned "trophy" in the shape of male genitalia were discovered decorating a vice office. In May 1997, the Feminist Majority Foundation and the National Center for Women & Policing called for an independent citizen's commission to investigate the problems of gender bias in the LAPD.

Recommendation

Finding

3.3 There is a divergence of opinion about the level of racial and ethnic tension within the Los Angeles Police Department. While some believe that racial and ethnic tension within the department is decreasing, others believe that such tension is increasing. Whether or not racial and ethnic tensions are increasing in the Los Angeles Police Department, there exists a very real perception that such tensions are paramount. The perception, whether real or perceived, has created an environment in which groups of officers find it necessary to resort to legal action to address their complaints of discrimination.

Recommendation:

Finding

3.4 Despite the perception of some of an increased level of bias in the LAPD, formal complaints of bias within the LAPD have not increased dramatically in the last few years. In fact, according to documents provided by the Los Angeles Police Department, complaints of ethnic remarks remained fairly constant. There is criticism, however, of the LAPD's record-keeping. The inspector general noted that ethnic remark complaints are sometimes subsumed within other categories, such as discourtesy or unbecoming conduct. Moreover, Commission review of documents revealed inconsistencies in the numbers of gender bias complaints among documents produced by the LAPD.

Recommendation:

Finding

3.5 Some witnesses at the Commission's hearing alleged yet another problem with the records of bias complaints within the department. They contended that the number of complaints actually made does not reflect the level of bias within the department because officers are unwilling to come forward with complaints for fear of retaliation. According to some, officers are afraid that complaints of bias will lead to decreased promotional opportunities and less favorable assignments. They may even fear for their own safety on the job insofar as they fear that others will refuse to back them up. The Fuhrman Task Force recognized the hesitation in coming forward with complaints of bias. It noted that the disciplinary system seems to hinder people from coming forth with problems for fear of having to endure the disciplinary process itself. According to the task force report, some victims may only desire understanding rather than punishment.

Recommendation:

Finding

3.6 The inspector general found it "troublesome" that only a small percentage of ethnic remark complaints (6 percent) were sustained. She recommended that investigators should be trained to use "pattern and practice" evidence and to judge the credibility of witnesses.

Recommendation:

Employment Issues

Findings

3.7 The LAPD should be commended for the strides it has made in improving diversity on the police force. Los Angeles leads police departments across the state of California in the percentages of women and minorities on its force. With women at 17 percent of the force, however, the LAPD is still far below the goal set by the Los Angeles City Council of 40 percent for female representation.

3.8 Moreover, it is troublesome that the LAPD's hiring of women and blacks declined markedly in the 6-month period preceding the Commission's hearing. A perception exists that the LAPD is not aggressively recruiting women and minorities. It appears that recruiting of women and blacks has slowed considerably as the numbers of applicants from these groups declined markedly immediately prior to the Commission's hearing.

Recommendation:

Finding

3.9 As part of the hiring process, applicants to the LAPD are interviewed by a panel of two police officers and one citizen. The interview is the only part of the hiring process that is scored; the other hiring components are graded as pass/fail. Thus the interview carries much weight in the hiring decision. As of September 1996, 79.8 percent of the interview boards for recruiting new officers included one female. Some former citizen members have noted that the scores for white male candidates are inflated because the officers on the panel believe an inflated score is necessary for a white male to compete. This creates an artificial disparity between male and female candidates and contributes to a perception among male officers that recruiting standards are lower for women.

Recommendation:

Performance of Female Police Officers

Finding

3.10 Studies have consistently found that women perform as effectively as men in most aspects of police work. Moreover, female officers are more likely to defuse violent situations without resort to an excessive use of force and are less likely to be involved in a serious lawsuit against the LAPD. In addition, female police officers are likely to deal with rape and battered victims better than male officers. Similarly, the Women's Advisory Council to the Los Angeles Police Commission found that women provide more effective responses to violence against women.

Recommendation:

Attrition Rates

Findings

3.11 Historically, the attrition rate for LAPD officers and recruits who are minorities and/or female has differed significantly from that for white males. More recently, attrition among minorities and females has been close to or below their representation on the force. Among recruits, however, there are significant differences in attrition when race and gender are taken into account. From July 1993 through March 1995, women left the Academy at double the rate of males. The attrition rate among women was 14 percent versus 6.8 percent for men. The attrition rates become even more skewed when race is also taken into account. For example, black women were leaving the Academy at a rate of 26 percent. In contrast, the attrition among white males was just 4.1 percent. Attrition among black males and Hispanic males is 8.5 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively.

3.12 Some believe that the academy's emphasis on physical training has an adverse impact on the retention of women recruits. Training has ameliorated some of the disparity in attrition rates between males and females. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the Crime Prevention Assistance Program, a training program developed by the LAPD in 1980 designed to deal with attrition, has led to improved attrition rates among female recruits. Upon implementation of CPAP, attrition rates for women were reported to have dropped dramatically. As noted above, however, disparity in attrition rates still remains.

Recommendation:

In-Service Training

Finding

3.13 The LAPD has expended considerable effort to improve its training program to counter racial and gender bias in the department. In developing a cultural awareness training program, the LAPD solicited input from various community groups to develop a training program for cultural diversity. As of the Commission's hearing, 51 percent of the LAPD had received cultural diversity training. With respect to gender bias, from March 1995 through June 1996, 93 percent of the LAPD's employees attended a sexual harassment training workshop.

Recommendation:

Promotions

Findings

3.14 The Hunter-La Ley consent decree addresses promotion of women and minorities. Documents produced for the Commission by the LAPD reflect that the department has not yet reached the goals set by the Hunter-La Ley consent decree since implementation of the decree in 1992. Although African American officers have made strides in attaining leadership positions, advocates for women, Latinos, and Asians continue to express dismay that these groups are clustered in the lower ranks.

3.15 Witnesses at the Commission's hearing testified to the importance of promoting women and minorities in the LAPD. They also alleged bias in the promotional system. The application of the three whole score band in the last 6 months of a promotional cycle leads to tensions among minority group members who feel they must compete against each other for a limited number of positions.

Recommendation:

Police Protective League

Finding

3.16 Tension exists between the police union and the black police officer's association based on a perception that the union does not adequately represent its black members. For example, the union has funded court challenges to affirmative action. The Police Protective League has also alleged that then Assistant Police Chief Bernard C. Parks engaged in a campaign to force the promotion of women and minorities at the expense of qualified white male candidates.

Recommendation:

Disciplinary System

Finding

3.17 A perception exists that officers are subject to widely disparate penalties, even for the same type of offense, based on their race or ethnicity. Documents produced by the LAPD for the Commission revealed that for the cases closed between July 1, 1994, and June 30, 1995, blacks received 25 percent of all discipline imposed on sworn personnel. Yet blacks only represented 14.9 percent of the force as reported in December 1995. A 1993 thesis analyzed the LAPD's data on penalties administered on sustained complaints. The thesis revealed that a disparity existed between the higher penalties accorded whites and minorities. The department's inspector general noted that she was closely observing the department's disciplinary process and was particularly concerned with looking at the consistency of penalties.

Recommendation:

Finding

3.18 One witness expressed frustration over what she sees as inconsistent penalties applied to those who engage in gender discrimination or harassment. She believes the inconsistent penalties send a message that the leadership is not genuinely concerned with eradicating these problems. Consistent with her concern, an internal LAPD task force noted its concern that an specialized assignment after his personal involvement officer gained admission to a much sought after in the "Men Against Women" group was known.

Recommendation:

Finding

3.19 According to the LAPD's inspector general, a major accomplishment of the Disciplinary Task Force set up by the Police Commission has been the evaluation and recommendation of changes to the LAPD's Guide to Discipline, which attempts to standardize discipline for sustained misconduct.

Recommendation:

Chapter 4: Los Angeles Sheriff's Department

Finding

4.1 The LASD now has a fully operating computerized system (the Personnel Performance Index) with the ability to track various data, including the use of force, complaints, commendations, and lawsuits. However, the lack of timely, accurate entry of information into the system undermines its effectiveness. In some cases, errors are due to the absence of procedures for reporting and entering information into the database. Station personnel who are essential for relaying information from the public do not uniformly report the information. A breakdown in reporting or entering all relevant information undermines the quality of data available through the PPI.

Recommendations:

Finding

4.2 There is a longstanding belief among community members that force is used disproportionately on minorities. According to past practice, the LASD did not maintain data on the race of suspects subjected to the use of force, the type of force used, or the suspected crime. Such information is crucial to determining whether or not force is used disproportionately on minorities. If the allegations are true, the LASD should take action to correct any biases. If untrue, the department will have statistics to counter false perceptions and build better relations with the community.

Recommendation:

Finding

4.3 Information from complaints filed with the LASD is an important source of feedback from the community. Data on the types of complaints may assist the LASD in identifying areas that need improvement. Demographic information about complainants may assist the department in gauging how it is perceived by different segments of the population. This information would be useful in determining trends, if any, in the LASD's relationship with different demographic groups.

Recommendation:

Finding

4.4 The public has little confidence in the LASD's ability to discipline its members. The Kolts Report found little or no discipline in many instances, even in cases resulting in large settlements or verdicts. Although there appears to be some improvement in the investigation of misconduct, little has changed in administering discipline for proven cases of misconduct.

Recommendations:

Finding

4.5 Since the Kolts Report, the LASD has taken steps to make its complaint system more accessible to the public. These efforts include a toll free number for filing complaints and directives to personnel that they should not discourage or intimidate complainants. Nevertheless, obstacles to filing complaints remain at some stations. While LASD personnel are helpful and cooperative at some stations, they are hostile or intimidating at others.

Recommendation:

Finding

4.6 The Office of the Ombudsman is a successful liaison between complainants and the sheriff's department. Since its inception in 1994, the office has helped to reconcile misunderstandings between community members and department officials and has informed complainants on the progress of their complaint. However, the ombudsman has not made the LASD's complaint adjudication process more legitimate to the public. Thus, the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman has done little to quell demands for civilian review. Civilian review systems do not find police officers at fault more often than internal systems. However, their decisions are more widely accepted by the public because they act independently of the police department. Where, as in the case of the LASD, there has been a history of mistrust by the community, any system of adjudicating complaints that is controlled by the department will be viewed with suspicion.

Recommendation:

Finding

4.7 The district attorney's reliance on police cooperation for prosecuting crimes conflicts with its duty to prosecute police misconduct. There is low public confidence in the DA's office as a tool for controlling misconduct by LASD officials. Because of its relationship with the sheriff's department, combined with the small number of police prosecutions, claims by the DA that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute a given case are met with skepticism.

Recommendation:

Finding

4.8 California Penal Code 148.6, which criminalizes false complaints against a police officer, has a discouraging influence on people with legitimate complaints. While officers should be protected from false allegations, a better approach is to ensure that the LASD conducts fair investigations of all complaints. The statute's admonishment becomes more threatening by the fact that the department determines whether or not a complaint is founded. From 1993 through 1996, the LASD determined 38 percent of complaints received by the public to be unfounded. The statute adds yet another obstacle to achieving an open complaint process. The fact that only a fraction of complaints are adjudicated to be founded also suggests that a mere allegation is insufficient to establish officer misconduct.

Recommendation:

Finding

4.9 Some off-duty LASD deputies have used their service weapons in ways that endanger public safety. Many of those deputies were intoxicated. Gun carrying officers must exercise sound judgment whether they are on or off duty. The LASD's disciplinary guidelines for off duty conduct are vague and do not specifically address the use of a firearm. Thus far, the department has failed to ensure that weapons are used in a responsible manner by off-duty officers.

Recommendations:

Finding

4.10 Serious allegations persist that groups of deputies have formed associations that harass and brutalize minority residents. The LASD contends that personnel may rally around station mascots when socializing or participating in sports competitions but denies that such groups engage in misconduct. The Kolts Report found that "some deputies at the Department's Lynwood Station associate with the 'Viking' symbol, and appear at least in past times to have engaged in behavior that is brutal and intolerable and is typically associated with street gangs." Although the sheriff has transferred some members of at least one group, he insists that this was done to discipline individual misconduct, not group activity. Community representatives assert that deputy gangs exist and continue to recruit new members. In September 1998, the LASD acknowledged the existence of a group of vigilante department employees known as the Posse.

Recommendation:

Finding

4.11 Police force diversity is an important element in police-community relations. People of different backgrounds working together as colleagues promotes greater understanding within the police force. A representative agency is also more likely to win the respect of the community. The LASD has made some effort to increase diversity in recent years by encouraging women and individuals from minority groups to apply for department positions. Although the LASD has made some improvement, progress has been slow.

Recommendation:

Finding

4.12 A diverse, representative work force is still wanting unless all members of the department have the same opportunities for advancement. This issue is being addressed in part by the Bouman consent decree. Nevertheless, the department is slow in promoting women and minorities to coveted positions. Vacancies for high profile or coveted positions are not always widely publicized and employees do not feel that the positions are open to all qualified individuals.

Recommendations:

Finding

4.13 The value of police canines is their ability to locate hiding suspects through their keen sense of smell. Most canine bites are unnecessary. Canine attacks cause severe physical and psychological injuries. Because the degree of injury from a canine attack is unpredictable, the suspect's injuries may be disproportionately severe. Until recently, LASD canines were trained to find and bite the suspect until the handler commanded the dog to release. The LASD is now conditioning its canines to find and bark out the location of the suspect. Even with this new method of training, bite injuries will occur unless handlers closely control their canines. The LASD's tighter management of the canine unit appears to be paying off in terms of lowering the number of bites.

Recommendations:

Finding

4.14 The LASD is criticized for using canines disproportionately against minorities. Over 80 percent of those bitten by police canines are black or Hispanic. The LASD claims, however, that canines tend to be used in higher crime areas and that the racial demographics of suspects bitten correlate with the racial demographics of suspects arrested for the same crimes. However, this assertion does not eliminate the possibility of institutional bias. Any institutional bias against minorities would result in disproportionate arrests of minorities as well as disproportionate canine deployments and bites of minority suspects. A better indicator would be to compare the convictions rates of different racial groups for each type of crime for which canines are used.

Recommendations:

Finding

4.15 Within the Los Angeles County jails, inmates live in an environment controlled by deputies. To maintain order, deputies have the power to punish inmates who violate the rules. Deputies are more likely to abuse their power in the closed environment of a jail where inmates are already incarcerated for some violation and may be isolated from any witnesses. Use of force incidents in the jails are not always reported as required by LASD policy. Excessive force as well as less severe incidents of gratuitous force for minor infractions continue to be a problem in the county jails.

Recommendations:

Finding

4.16 The LASD's failure to attend to the medical needs of inmates is a serious problem in the Los Angeles County jails. Inmates are sometimes unable to obtain medication for serious illnesses because of administrative miscommunications. In some cases, deputies withhold or delay medical care for inmates who become sick or injured. Grave injures have resulted from the callous treatment of seriously ill inmates.

Recommendations:

Finding

4.17 Racial tensions that exist in the community continue among inmates in the confines of the jails. LASD officials are well aware of this and management asserts that they try to keep the jail modules racially balanced. Nevertheless, there were disturbing reports that deputies used the tension between racial groups to pit one group against another.

Recommendation:

Finding

4.18 The LASD has done little to reduce the amount time a deputy spends in a custody assignment. The joint statement of Sheriff Block and Judge Kolts in 1993 stated the goal of reducing the custody assignment to a range of 18 months to 2 years. Deputies currently spend 4 to 6 years in custody assignments. Although the jail environment may be a valuable training ground, the length of the assignment outlives its usefulness. Deputies seeking a career in patrol may be frustrated with the long wait. Because minorities are overrepresented in the jails, the extended time in custody may affect a deputy's conduct toward racial minorities once on patrol.

Recommendation:

Finding

4.19 Special Counsel Merrick Bobb has been reporting on the LASD since the Kolts Report was issued. His monitoring activities are essential for informing the public of the LASD's progress as well as areas that need improvement. Public knowledge of the LASD's activities is particularly important because the department is headed by an elected official. Since the Sheriff operates without oversight, this exposure is instrumental in maintaining current gains and pressuring the LASD to make further improvements.

Recommendations:

Chapter 5: The Relationship of Local Law Enforcement with Los Angeles Immigrant Communities

Increasing Intolerance of Immigrants

Findings

5.1 There is a widespread perception among civil rights and immigrant rights groups and Latino, Asian, and other ethnic minorities that anti-immigrant sentiment in the Los Angeles area, among the public generally and in law enforcement, has dramatically increased in recent years and is currently greater than it has ever been. The April 1996 South El Monte beatings of two undocumented immigrants and the support expressed for the two deputies involved by some of the public and some in law enforcement are seen as indicative of this climate.

5.2 Civil rights and immigrant rights groups and Latino, Asian, and other ethnic minorities see the developing anti-immigrant climate in Los Angeles as an open invitation to officers to discriminate on the basis of skin color, language, or accent as a proxy for potential "illegal" status. There has been an increase in abusive and discriminatory treatment of Latinos-many of them U.S. citizens or legal residents-by law enforcement officers, including insulting racial or ethnic slurs, unreasonable searches, and demands for immigration papers without cause. A number of recent cases of alleged police misconduct involving Korean Americans have similarly damaged law enforcement relations with the Korean and Asian American communities in Los Angeles. The Chong case in particular, which involved the failure of the LAPD to either seek a Korean-speaking police officer or utilize an interpreter service under contract with the city to communicate with an 81-year-old monolingual Korean immigrant taken into police custody, has damaged police relations with the Asian American and immigrant communities of Los Angeles in general.

5.3 Increasing intolerance for ethnic or racial minority immigrants is a significant contributing factor to excessive force incidents like the South El Monte beatings and to the abuses noted above. Some in law enforcement appear to have dehumanized immigrants, particularly if they are people of color, believing that they are not entitled to basic human rights. All people, regardless of immigration status are entitled to human rights. There is great danger to our society in the tendency among some to equate being human with being a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. This is an issue quite apart from that of an immigrant's right to legally remain in the United States.

5.4 As a majority minority city and county with a significant immigrant population, increasing intolerance for ethnic and minority immigrants among the general populace and in law enforcement in Los Angeles has significantly exacerbated racial and ethnic tension and negatively affected police-immigrant community relations in the Los Angeles area.

Recommendations:

Gang Reporting, Evaluation, and Tracking System

Findings

5.5 The Gang Reporting, Evaluation and Tracking (GREAT) System is a computer database maintained by the LASD, containing information about street gangs and about individuals identified as gang members by law enforcement departments throughout California and the Nation. It has existed since 1985 and is currently the automated gang file for most counties and law enforcement agencies in the State of California. A statewide system known as CAL/Gang, expected to be operational sometime in 1998, will integrate all GREAT local agency databases and utilize essentially the same operating standards. Law enforcement characterizes it as "an investigative tool" for investigators attempting to solve allegedly gang-related crimes, and not a "rap sheet." GREAT files are accessible by any law enforcement agency that agrees to meet the minimum standards for entry of data. In order to identify an individual as a member of a gang, two of six criteria discussed in this report must be met. An investigator is authorized to remove a name if he or she determines an entry was made in error, but there is no notice to individuals that they have been entered into the system. The GREAT system automatically purges records if they have not been modified or updated within 5 years. However, each time a record is changed, the 5-year countdown begins anew.

5.6 Among the areas of concern expressed by civil rights groups and the immigrant and minority communities are the criteria for entry into the system, the lack of notice to individuals entered, the large percentage of minority individuals entered into the system, and renewal of the 5-year countdown to purging by the entry of any new information. These issues are a source of racial and ethnic tension in Los Angeles and of tension between the minority and immigrant communities and law enforcement, the LASD in particular.

Recommendation:

Community Policing

Findings

5.7 The Christopher Commission noted that the "community policing model places service to the public and prevention of crime as the primary role of police in society and emphasizes problem-solving, with active citizen involvement in defining those matters that are important to the community, rather than arrest statistics. Officers at the patrol level are required to spend less time in their cars communicating with other officers and more time on the street communicating with citizens. Community policing is a philosophy of law enforcement that builds up from a base of partnerships created and nurtured at the station level by the deputies, sergeants and lieutenants with community organizations and individuals...." The Kolts Commission similarly observed that the "essence of community policing is that every person dealing with the police is to be treated with dignity and respect, even in difficult circumstances when the person is abusive, aggressive, resistant and provocative. It connotes a breakdown of the 'us vs. them' attitude and the substitution of a thoroughly professional approach. . . . It measures its success not so much by the numbers-number of arrests, response time-but rather in terms of citizen involvement, improvement in the quality of life, proactive crime prevention, coordination with social agencies and the consequential reduction of lawsuits and complaints of brutality, excessive force, and rude or demeaning behavior or language."

5.8 Both the LAPD and the LASD have made substantial progress toward the implementation of the similar models of community policing recommended by the Christopher Commission and the Kolts Commission, respectively. The existence of well-developed Community Police Advisory Board (CPAB) and Community Police Academy programs at each of the 18 geographic divisions of the LAPD are the foundation for the progress of the LAPD in community policing. Similarly, the existence of a Community Advisory Committees (CAC) at all 21 sheriff's stations and of Citizens' Academies at most sheriff's stations is the foundation for the LASD's developing commitment to community policing.

5.9 Community Police Advisory Boards and Community Advisory Committees should be composed of local residents who reflect the demographics and socioeconomic strata of each service area as well as the spectrum of views in the community concerning law enforcement and how to contend with crime in their respective communities. CPABs and CACs should be more than a vehicle for one-way communication from the station to the community or police booster clubs or vehicles to generate a positive image of the police. Rather, they should provide a forum for captains to hear from their outspoken critics as well as their outspoken supporters. These committees are intended to be part of an early warning system: Captains need to know directly from the community where trouble is brewing, in terms of growing crime problems, underserved parts of the community, priorities, and dissatisfaction with how the police are comporting themselves.

5.10 Community organizations consider the LAPD's Community Police Advisory Boards and the LASD's Community Advisory Committees to be a step in the right direction toward community policing. However, station captains' exercise to date of their substantial discretion in selecting individuals from the community to serve on the LAPD's Community Police Advisory Boards and the LASD's Community Advisory Committees is a source of concern. There is a widespread perception among civil rights, immigrant rights and community groups that most station captains in both the LAPD and the LASD tend to exclude from CPABs and CACs, respectively, community activists and outspoken critics of police conduct. There is also a perception among civil rights and community groups that most captains also tend to pick business people, which in addition to ignoring the views of community activists, can tend to result in a board or committee that does not reflect the demographic makeup of the community. These perceptions are a source of racial and ethnic tension and of tension between local law enforcement and the communities they serve. Communities United for Police Reform (CUPR), a coalition of more than two dozen civil rights, immigrant rights and community groups, has published a proposal regarding the selection of participants in these community advisory groups, which has yet to be seriously considered by either department.

5.11 The LAPD's Community Police Academies and the LASD's Citizens Academies introduce interested members of the public to LAPD and sheriff's department functions and procedures, respectively, as well as acquaint them with other community policing services and activities that may be offered at the station in their community. Civil rights, immigrant rights and community groups appreciate this opportunity for community residents to learn what police agencies do and how their work is performed. There is, however, a widespread perception among these groups that the LAPD and the LASD personnel at each station would benefit from nonconfrontational community orientation or instruction regarding the demographic, cultural, and linguistic nature of the community and its major institutions and cultural, business, professional, social and service resources. CUPR has published a proposal for "Community Academies" designed to achieve these objectives. Neither the LAPD nor the LASD has been receptive to the suggestion that orientation should flow from the community to the department as well as from the department to the community. This resistance has been a source of racial and ethnic tension and of tension between local law enforcement and the communities they serve.

5.12 The participation of monolingual non-English speaking residents-many of whom are immigrants-in Community Police Advisory Boards, Community Advisory Committees, Community Police Academies, and Citizen Advisory Committees has been much lower than that of other groups of residents in the communities served by the LAPD and the LASD. This is due primarily to the lack of bilingual personnel, translators, or other means of ensuring participation, such as headphone sets that provide translations, rather than any intentional actions of the LAPD and the LASD. While budgetary concerns must always be taken into account, the minimal participation of non-English speakers in these community policing bodies deprives the departments of the eyes, ears, and perspective of a significant part of the communities they serve.

Recommendations:

Cultural Awareness Training

Findings

5.13 Cultural awareness training goes to the heart of the Christopher and Kolts Commissions' concern with the issues of excessive force and sensitivity to the racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse communities served by the LAPD and the LASD. Los Angeles is one of the most diverse metropolitan areas in the United States. Despite admirable training programs in both departments, there is evidence of increasing intolerance of ethnic and minority immigrants among some members of both the LAPD and the LASD.

5.14 The LAPD requires 24 hours of training in cultural awareness for recruits consisting of an 8-hour, 1-day course (referred to as the POST curriculum) provided by the LAPD Training Division, Human Relations Unit, supplemented by 16 hours of guest speakers from the African American, Asian, Latino, and gay and lesbian communities. Department employees (sworn and civilian) receive 8 hours of in-service training consisting of the POST curriculum. The department offers Spanish language instruction, but the number of hours of instruction has been reduced in recent years.

5.15 The LAPD's South Bureau, in cooperation with the Mexican Cultural Institute, conducted in 1995 a unique pilot program of instruction in the Spanish language and in Mexican culture for 19 senior lead officers. It included 6 months' instruction at the institute, followed by 10 days in Guadalajara, Mexico, in December 1995 with local families. The officers praised the program and returned with an enriched understanding of the cultural forces at work in their service area. Nonsalaried expenses were sponsored by several companies, including MGM and the Automobile Club of Southern California.

5.16 The LASD's Cultural Awareness Training Program has become a model for departments in the State of California and around the country. Recruits receive 24 hours of training in cultural awareness, consisting of a 16-hour course and a full day at the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance. In-service training consists of 16 to 24 hours training, depending upon rank and assignment, consisting of 8 or 16 hours of instruction from the department's course and 1 day at the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance. This day of training appears to be particularly effective in helping cadets and deputies understand the everyday impact of bigotry and inhumanity on racial and ethnic minorities. Aspects of cultural awareness training are also woven throughout other types of training such as force training. The department offers a limited number of hours in basic Spanish at the sheriff''s department academy, but it is restricted to learning certain essential phrases a deputy might have to use.

5.17 There is evidence that a significant number of rank-and-file LASD deputies have been resistant to cultural awareness instruction, despite the top caliber of the training provided.

Recommendations:

Language Issues

Findings

5.18 The Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department face a significant challenge in communicating with a large portion of city and county residents who are relative newcomers to the United States and do not speak English well, if at all.

5.19 Neither the LAPD nor the LASD has a written departmental policy for dealing with the non-English speaking public. Therefore no conditions are specified under which officers and deputies are required to attempt to find an officer who speaks the language of an arrestee, victim, or witness and they are not subject to discipline for failure to do so.

5.20 The LAPD and the LASD both allow the level of bilingual officer staffing at each station to be determined by the area or unit commander. The area or unit commander's request for bilingual positions is subject to the approval of the chief of police or the sheriff, respectively. Neither department uses a uniform, departmentwide methodology for determining either the overall level of bilingual officer staffing or the level of such staffing at each station. Neither department has conducted a competent language needs assessment of the areas they serve to determine whether they deploy enough bilingual officers, either in the aggregate or to the appropriate stations.

5.21 In both the LAPD and the LASD, sworn personnel who currently receive bilingual compensation cannot transfer to another division or station without losing their compensation, unless the new assignment location has a bilingual vacancy for the non-English language in which the officer is fluent. This is because bilingual positions are designated for the division or station.

5.22 Bilingual skills are not viewed as a relevant asset by the LAPD when making promotion decisions.

5.23 There are a significant number of authorized bilingual positions unfilled in the LAPD. As of March 6, 1996, there were 1,388 authorized bilingual positions, of which 232 or 16.7 percent were unfilled. These vacancies were particularly concentrated in the Spanish and Korean languages (200 and 16, respectively), despite substantial population pools from which to draw law enforcement officers. The 1990 census reported that there were approximately 2,555,000 people who spoke Spanish at home in Los Angeles County, and about 124,000 who spoke Korean. The facts that sworn personnel who currently receive bilingual compensation cannot transfer to another division without losing their compensation and that bilingual skills are not viewed as a relevant asset by the LAPD when making promotion decisions impede LAPD officers who may qualify for authorized bilingual positions from applying.

5.24 The AT&T interpreter service made available to LAPD officers readily offers interpreters for 144 languages and can locate speakers of many less common languages, given some extra time. Laminated cards listing the languages for which interpreters are available are issued to officers and a videotape is periodically played at rollcall to remind officers of the service. The LAPD does not maintain a list of volunteer interpreters drawn from the populace who can be called to render interpreter services.

5.25 The LAPD has failed to consistently maintain at its 18 division stations citizen complaint forms in all four languages mandated by the department (English, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean).

5.26 The LASD relies heavily upon its Volunteer Interpreter Program in dealing with the non-English speaking public. As of August 1996, 170 volunteers were enrolled in the program. Deputies are required to carry an "Interpreter Guide" card, which lists 39 available languages, including sign language. An individual who speaks a language with which available deputies are unfamiliar is asked to locate that language on the card. The department may also call upon some of the 750 or more sworn and civilian employees listed on a roster of bilingual employees to render translator services.

5.27 The LASD maintains citizen complaint forms in Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese, as well as English. Forms are also available in other languages, depending on the makeup of the community. The LASD has recently eliminated the blocks on the standard complaint form that indicated the race and age of the complainant. This impedes the department's ability to assess the demographics of its civilian complaints.

Recommendations:

Police-Immigrant Community Relations

Findings

5.28 LAPD Special Order 40 and the LASD's similar policy, as outlined in the sheriff's March 1, 1996, announcement, are critical to public safety and the cooperation of all persons in programs designed to enhance police-community relations.

5.29 Abrogation of LAPD Special Order 40 and the LASD's similar policy, as outlined in the sheriff's March 1, 1996, announcement, would damage police-community relations and increase racial and ethnic tension in Los Angeles, because significant numbers of racial and ethnic minority immigrants will be fearful of working with the police to report and prevent crime.

5.30 Abrogation of LAPD Special Order 40 and the LASD's similar policy, as outlined in the sheriff's March 1, 1996, announcement, will require that LAPD officers and LASD deputies receive significant training in Federal immigration law.

Recommendation:

High Speed Pursuits

Findings

5.31 The high speed pursuit syndrome increases the likelihood that law enforcement officers will use excessive force against their quarry at the end of a vehicle pursuit, and is particularly dangerous in pursuits of racial and ethnic minority suspects.

5.32 Neither the California Commission Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), the LAPD nor the LASD has training materials or guidelines that focus on control of the post-pursuit situation.

5.33 LAPD pursuit policy does not bar pursuits based on a traffic violation: it provides only that pursuits "should be initiated only when law violators clearly exhibit an intention to avoid arrest by using a vehicle to flee."

5.34 The LAPD conducts by far the largest number of pursuits, and its pursuits result in disproportionately more deaths and injuries to officers, suspects, and others than any other department in the region. LAPD pursuits that result in fatal collision injuries to suspects or others are most often initiated as a result of alleged vehicle code violations, such as speeding, failure to stop at a stop sign or red light, and railroad crossing violations. More than 83 percent of officer injuries in LAPD pursuit incidents occur after the pursuit has concluded.

5.35 Nearly 71 percent of LASD officer injuries occur after the pursuit has concluded.

5.36 LASD watch commanders are failing in high numbers to submit required paperwork on pursuits, leading to a possible undercount of the number of pursuits that are taking place. Watch commanders and deputies are failing to cancel substantial numbers of out of policy pursuits after they have been initiated.

5.37 The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service conducts a number of programs and joint initiatives with the LAPD, the LASD, and other local county and State law enforcement authorities that focus on increasing the number of deportable aliens removed from the United States, with particular emphasis on the removal of criminal aliens. California leads the Nation with more than 10,000 criminal alien removals in the first 10 months of the 1996 fiscal year, a 6 percent increase over the previous year's record pace.

Recommendations:

Chapter Six: The Federal Role: Pattern or Practice Authority

Implementation of Pattern or Practice Authority

Findings

6.1 In September 1994, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Included within the act, 42 U.S.C. 14141(a) prohibits any governmental authorities from engaging in a pattern or practice of conduct by law enforcement which deprives persons of their constitutional rights. Within the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, the Special Litigation Section and the Coordination and Review Section are handling implementation of the new pattern and practice authority. Several attorneys also have been detailed to the effort. Depending on interest and available resources, the local United States attorney's offices also will work with the Civil Rights Division in its investigation and litigation of certain police departments. Investigations into police misconduct are complex and labor intensive. There is concern that taking DOJ attorneys away from other important objectives will result in harm.

6.2 Witnesses at the Commission's June 1993 hearing in Los Angeles maintained that the Federal Government had failed to use the criminal remedy in addressing police misconduct in the LAPD throughout the previous decade. The Department of Justice was unable to monitor sufficiently the activities of the LAPD and other departments in part because it did not systematically evaluate complaints and did not identify trends in police practices and tactics. Following the enactment of 42 U.S.C.14141(a), the Department of Justice has initiated investigations into the Los Angeles Police Department with particular attention being paid to the pace of reforms there. The LAPD reportedly is cooperating with the DOJ investigation.

Recommendation:

Findings

6.3 Prior to passage of the crime bill, the Federal Government only had the authority to investigate and prosecute alleged criminal civil rights violations by individual officers. The criminal law is a limited means to prevent or deter police misconduct. The most common statutes employed in these actions are 18 U.S.C. 241 and 242, which prohibit conspiracies to violate civil rights, and official, willful violations of civil rights. Both statutes require proof of specific intent in order to prevail. This evidentiary burden is difficult to prove and to explain to juries making the prosecution of such cases a formidable task

6.4 Although citizens can bring civil actions to recover damages, these suits had proven ineffective in preventing future misconduct. As demonstrated by the Christopher Commission and Kolts Commission reports, even though the city and county of Los Angeles were paying millions of dollars each year in verdicts against their respective departments, there was no change in the departments' conduct. Individual damage actions also do little to prevent abuses that do not result in significant injury, but create substantial tension between the department and the local community. Moreover, the United States Supreme Court has foreclosed the possibility of private citizens' seeking equitable or injunctive relief against the practice of police brutality by local departments.

Recommendations:

Data Collection

Finding

6.5 There has been criticism about the lack of national statistics on use of excessive force by police. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act includes a provision requiring the Attorney General to collect and publish data about the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers. There has been concern expressed that information on use of force is not maintained consistently among law enforcement agencies.

Recommendation: