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Breaking: at Least One LAPD Officer Racially Profiles People

Photo: stevelyon/Flickr
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LAPD police chief Charlie Beck is pushing for one of his officers to be fired after an investigation found that he racially profiled motorists while working on motorcycle assignment in the West Traffic Division. The LA Times, which reported the story, says that officer Patrick Smith, 55, was the target of numerous complaints by drivers whom he pulled over. The complaints, along with substantiating reports by fellow officers, led to a follow-up investigation by the LAPD as to whether Smith pulled over Latino drivers more often than other motorists. The investigation concluded that he did, and that he also changed their ethnicity to white when filling out reports, presumably to cover his racially-profiling tracks.

Smith will now be sent to a hearing in front of a three-person panel, which will decide whether to fire him or let him keep doing his thing, since Beck doesn't have the authority to fire him outright.

Somewhat shockingly, this is the first time that an LAPD officer has been found guilty by his or her peers or racially or ethnically profiling. That's despite a 2010 recording in which an LAPD officer is overheard saying that he "couldn't do [his] job without racially profiling."