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Does the LAPD have a racial profiling problem?

November 15, 2010 |  7:25 am
The latest graduates of the Los Angeles Police Academy wear black bands over their badges in honor of Marine Corps Reserve Sgt. Maj. Robert J. Cottle, the Los Angeles Police Department's first officer to be killed in combat in Afghanistan. Cottle, a SWAT officer, died Wednesday.

A conversation between two Los Angeles Police Department officers who were unknowingly recorded is at the heart of the U.S. Justice Department's warning to the LAPD that it needs to do a better job investigating allegations of racial profiling.

TalkbackIn a conversation with a supervisor, the officers seem to be dismissive of racial profiling complaints.

"So what?" one said, when told that other officers had been accused of stopping a motorist because of his race. The second officer is heard twice saying that he "couldn't do [his] job without racially profiling."

The officers' comments, Justice officials found, spoke to a "perception and attitude of some LAPD officers on the street" and suggested "a culture that is inimical to race-neutral policing."

Read more about the conversation and the Justice Department's concerns in this story by The Times' Joel Rubin. Rubin said this "marks a setback for the LAPD, which remains under federal oversight on the issue. In order to rid itself of the federal scrutiny — which police officials have increasingly come to resent — the LAPD must assuage the Justice Department's concerns."

Does the LAPD need to do more to fight racial profiling? Tell us what you think.

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Photo: Recent LAPD academy graduation. Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

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