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Morning Brief: Removing LAPD From Traffic Stops, Defiant Burbank Restaurants, And Tiger Woods Survives Crash

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Good morning, L.A. It’s Feb. 24.

Yesterday, the L.A. City Council took a step toward removing armed officers from making routine traffic stops, voting to direct various city agencies to explore alternatives.

Following yesterday’s vote, the City Attorney and others are now charged with requesting proposals from consultants to study the feasibility of unarmed traffic enforcement, including reviews of current state and local traffic laws and comparable programs throughout the country.

The L.A. Department of Transportation is tasked with soliciting feedback from communities, and the L.A. Police Department must provide data on the most frequently cited traffic violations, and the “gender and ethnicity of those cited or arrested.”

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The motion was introduced in June by Councilmembers Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Mike Bonin, Curren Price, and Herb Wesson, and decries the treatment of Black and Latino Angelenos at the hands of police, specifically during traffic stops for what are typically minor infractions.

“Law enforcement agencies nationwide and here in Los Angeles have long used minor traffic infractions as a pretext for harassing vulnerable road users and profiling people of color,” wrote the motion’s authors. “From jaywalking citations in Downtown and Skid Row to operations by the Metropolitan Division in South LA, the Los Angeles Police Department’s history of misusing traffic enforcement has fostered decades of distrust in communities of color that ultimately undermines true traffic safety initiatives.”

Berkeley moved forward with a similar strategy last summer, and officials in Cambridge, Mass. have considered one as well. Elected officials in other cities — including San Diego — have spoken out against so-called pretext stops, in which officers pull over a driver for a minor infraction as a pretext for investigating something else

Councilmember Harris-Dawson told LAist last year that part of the problem is that voters and taxpayers have opted to let police deal with a ridiculously broad array of societal challenges.

"You have armed officers directing traffic, you have them taking reports after accidents, you have them settling arguments between kids after school,” he said. “Many of these circumstances they ended up in because we sent them there."

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Data supports the claim that traffic stops disproportionately affect drivers of color. As my colleague Robert Garrova writes, a recent report by the Los Angeles Police Commission’s inspector general found that 27% of people stopped by officers in 2019 were Black, in a city where Black people represent just 9% of the population.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.


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Before You Go … 22 Great SoCal Coffee Subscriptions From Local, Indie Roasters

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Coffee and beans from LA Coffee Club. (Courtesy of LA Coffee Club)

It's 6:30 a.m. on Day 351 of the coronavirus pandemic. You wake up groggy and stumble to the kitchen, desperate for the jolt that only coffee can provide. But where are the beans? The grinder? What even is a cup?

Maybe if you had a coffee subscription service, things would be a little easier.

From affordable to exclusive, we found nearly two dozen independent companies in Los Angeles and Orange counties offering coffee subscriptions and clubs. Some have multiple cafes while others sell directly to customers without a brick-and-mortar space. One club features a rotating selection of local roasters, including several that don't offer their own subscriptions. And so many more.

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