Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck told the civilian Police Commission today he is proud of the investigation into allegations a white police officer targeted Latino drivers based on their ethnicity, though he stressed that the disciplinary process is not yet complete.
The Los Angeles Times reported this morning that this case of “biased policing” is the LAPD’s first finding that an officer racially or ethically profiled Angelenos. Officer Patrick Smith was placed on leave during the investigation, which concluded he engaged in racial profiling, according to The Times. Smith’s case will be reviewed by the three-member Board of Rights, which could dismiss him from the force.
“While I am proud of the process, it is not over,” Beck said this morning. “I do believe that this department is willing to not only investigate, but make a proper determination and follow the evidence in the cases of biased policing. But, I have to very strongly state that this process is not completed and the final adjudication is done before the Board of Rights.”
Commissioner John Mack, the former president of the Los Angeles Urban League, applauded the department’s investigation.
“”This has been one of the most — if not the most — challenging issues confronting LAPD and this commission since I have been a member. It has been an extremely difficult one to address,” Mack said.
“It is a really important step in the right direction. I think it demonstrates the commitment and the seriousness on the part of this police chief and this department to address this very difficult and controversial issue,” Mack said.