LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said Monday he strongly disagrees with a New York lawmaker who says American Muslims are being uncooperative with law enforcement.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the new chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, says he wants the upcoming hearings in Washington to focus on "Muslim radicalization", but Baca says the burden of proof rests on the congressman, not the Muslim community at large.
"If he has evidence of non-cooperation, he should bring it forward," said Baca. "We have as much cooperation as we are capable of acquiring through public trust relationships."
King has said that retired law enforcement officials are more likely to voice their concerns — albeit privately — about the reluctance of many Muslim community leaders to cooperate with law enforcement, but also notes that active duty officers are much more hesitant to go on record about the issue.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council hosted a group on Capitol Hill on Monday comprised of political and law enforcement officials from around the U.S. aimed at improving ties with the intelligence community to counter radicalization.
"Muslim Americans in the county of Los Angeles have been overwhelmingly astounded by terrorist attacks — like everyone else — and overwhelmingly concerned about a non-repeat performance of that kind — and are willing to get involved and help," said Baca.
The sheriff extended an invitation to King to visit the Southland and witness firsthand the relationship between local law enforcement and Muslim-Americans.
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