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L.A. To Pay $700,000 To Minorities Who Cops Racially Profiled

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L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. patrol car (Photo by Lucy Rendler-Kaplan via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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It's been over three years since the U.S. Justice Department announced that they would be opening an investigation about L.A. County Sheriff's Department deputies racially profiling minorities in the Antelope Valley. And on Tuesday, justice was served as L.A. County agreed to pay a settlement of $700,000 to residents who were unfairly targeted.

The settlement is just one part of the agreement. The Sheriff's Department is also required to better train their deputies on policing without biases, and only making warranted stops and searches, the AP reports. They'll also be monitored on its progress. However, under the terms of the agreement, the department doesn't have to admit to any wrong-doing.

Originally, the Justice Department wanted Palmdale and Lancaster to pay out $12.5 million to the victims, but as part of the agreement, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors agreed to shell out $700,000 to the victims of discrimination. Each claimant can receive a maximum of $20,000, the L.A. Times reports. They also have to pay an extra $25,000 to the federal government as a penalty.

Federal officials released a report in June 2013, two years after they announced their investigation, that detailed a pattern of civil rights abuses. The report found that deputies were targeting blacks and Hispanics in Palmdale and Lancaster. They noticed that these minorities were subject to excessive force and searches, and unconstitutional stops. Black tenants in low-income public housing told investigators they deputies would perform surprise searches on their residences and sometimes draw guns on them—a violation of the Fair Housing Act, the report said, according to City News Service.

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It seems like there has been a change in policing recently. Community member Emmett Murrell told the AP: "They're not harassing and stopping individuals for minimal offenses anymore."