Ask the Chief

Apr 11, 2012

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck

American flags were front and center, and the police presence was minimal, as marchers headed toward City Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: Julio Morales

As we approach the twentieth anniversary of the L.A. Riots, the Los Angeles Police Department, for the first time in history, is disciplining one of its own officers for engaging in racial or ethnic profiling.

On March 27, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck recommended that veteran officer Patrick Smith ought to be found guilty of racial profiling, after reviewing an investigation of the case. Officer Smith, who happens to be white, has been targeting Latino drivers for traffic stops because of their ethnicity, according to an LAPD investigation. Department procedures require Smith to face a disciplinary hearing before punitive actions are taken by the department.

The department is facing a different sort of hearing of its own in the way of an excessive force lawsuit filed by Robert Contreras, who was wounded and paralyzed when officers shot him after he fled the scene of a drive-by shooting that he was later convicted of. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, has reversed his previous push for a settlement in the case to say that the payout should not be made.

The LAPD is also dealing with an apparent surge of homeless encampments across the city that have been congesting and polluting city streets not only in downtown’s skid row, but in Venice Beach, and even in the Hollywood hills. What is the LAPD doing about these street dwellers? Call in to ask the Chief!


What would you like to ask Los Angeles’ top cop?


Chief Charlie Beck, Los Angeles Police Department

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