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LAPD Motorcycle Officer May Lose Badge Over Racial Profiling Charges

LOS ANGELES (CBS)  — A motorcycle officer with the Los Angeles Police Department may lose his job after he was found guilty of racial profiling following an internal investigation.

Joel Rubin of the Los Angeles Times was the first to reveal the allegations against Patrick Smith, a white 15-year LAPD veteran assigned to the department's West Traffic Division.

Rubin told KNX 1070 that Smith — who is white — was pulling over primarily Latino drivers based solely on their race.

"Then taking it a step further, [he was] misidentifying them in the paperwork that officers fill out after traffic stops and labeling them as white," said Rubin.

Smith used the tactic to conceal the fact that he had a "disproportionate number of stops involving Latino drivers," Rubin added.

It was the first time the LAPD has found that one of its officers had engaged in racial or ethnic profiling.

Citing sources, Rubin reported that members of the command staff have recommended that Smith be found guilty of profiling Latinos. Police Chief Charlie Beck then reportedly ordered that Smith, 55, be subject to a disciplinary hearing at which the department will push for him to be fired.

In a statement released by the LAPD, Beck said it was too early to comment on the specifics of the case.

"It is important that the public and our officers know how seriously we take Constitutional Policing. Any complaints of racial profiling or racially based policing are thoroughly and impartially investigated," Beck said.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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