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Investigation: LAPD Singled Out Black Drivers For Traffic Stops

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- Do LAPD officers single out African-American drivers for traffic stops? That's what a new investigation by the Los Angeles Times investigation found.

KCAL9's Hermela Aregawi said the report did not specify why people are stopped or if they were searched or cited or arrested, but she spoke to a civil rights attorney who said it really doesn't matter.

Connie Rice said the stops alone are dangerous and damaging.

"Houston we've got a problem is what I thought," Rice said.

According to a new analysis, the LAPD is pulling over a lot more drivers these says -- and 90 percent of them are black or Latino, says the LA Times.

"Most dragnet mass-stop strategies like these end up collecting a whole bunch of folks who should've never been stopped," Rice says.

The department's Metro Division, considered an elite group, was expanded in 2015 after a spike in violent crime.

Since then the number of stops made by the division has skyrocketed.

In 2014, there were about 4,000 stops.  In 2018, there were 58,000. Fourteen times more than the four years prior.

"On what basis are they stopping the cars?," Rice said, "what makes them decide which car to stop if there's no investigation?"

The numbers are even more jarring when broken down by race. Although blacks make up only 9 percent of the population, they account for 49 percent of the drivers stopped.

That is compared to whites who make up 28 percent of the population and only 4 percent of the stops.

And in South LA where blacks are about 31 percent of the population they account for 65 percent of all stops.

"You don't build trust by stopping people who are innocent, for no good reason," Rice said.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore says the division's focus on South LA is due to high crime rates in the area and he pointed to the fact that violent crime citywide decreased last year for the first time in five years.

"What's the connection between individual cars and reducing violence?," Rice said, "I don't see it."

Rice said she planned to sit down the LAPD to try to figure out why there is such a large discrepancy in the numbers of stops and better ways to fight crime.

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