Feds Probing Civil Rights Case in Bell, Calif.

Bell, Calif.
A newspaper reports the U.S. Justice Department is investigating alleged civil rights violations in a Los Angeles suburb already embroiled in a salary scandal.

The Los Angeles Times cited anonymous law enforcement officials who said the Justice Department was investigating complaints that Hispanic drivers in Bell were targeted by police and illegally ticketed or towed. The drivers would then allegedly be charged exorbitant fees to get their cars back.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, says aggressive code enforcement was used to bolster revenues in Bell so city leaders could keep their high salaries. The Times described complaints about the high cost of parking tickets, city permits, business licenses and real estate property inspections.