MORE ON THE ALLEGED LAPD RACIAL PROFILING AND THE KIDS WHO WERE CUFFED
Tuesday night, there was an open forum at USC to discuss the break-up of an off campus party by more than six dozen LAPD officers, which has now become a high profile incident. Students, faculty, city and county officials and LAPD department members packed into a campus ballroom for the follow-up to several demonstrations and meetings this week regarding allegations of racial profiling by the LAPD against USC students of color.
If for some reason you missed the original story, last Friday night,, after responding to a simple noise complaint, seventy-nine officers, some in riot gear, made six arrests as they shut down a USC party attended predominantly by African Americans. Meanwhile, just across the street, LAPD officers handled a similar noise complaint against a group of mainly white party goers in what was reportedly a considerably more peaceful fashion.
Police maintain that the crowd at party two went inside and turned down the noise when asked, while many members of party one did not and an unspecified numbers threw objects at officers.
Among the students arrested was the first party’s host, Nate Howard, a bright and charismatic USC communications major who, in addition to being a student leader, is also a correspondent for mtvU, the creator of a production company called Brave Entrepreneurs, and has just shot a pilot for his own talk show. Several of the other kids arrested also turned out to be campus leaders.
Feeling unjustly profiled, amid the chaos, the party-goers began tweeting, Facebooking, and videotaping the LAPD encounter. Within hours, they had flooded various social media platforms, and organized a campus sit-in for the following day to raise awareness about what they characterized as unequal treatment by the LAPD that they insisted was not an isolated event.
Here’s a raw video of the 79 police officers (yes, the party-goers counted) taken by a student who had attended the party:
(NOTE: According to a source close to the department, there is an video, unreleased as yet, of officers in a radio car being hit by bottles and/or rocks.)
And another of an impassioned Nate Howard at the campus sit-in, at one point reciting what soon became the demonstrating students’ new call phrase: “We are scholars! Not criminals!”
During Tuesday night’s forum, attendees live-tweeted in a big way, and #USChangeMovement started trending. Here’s a link to the whole feed, but here are some of the tweets that stood out to us:
Frances Wang @FrancesWang_
Friday night, I told an officer that he arrested USC scholars who will change the world. He laughed. Little did he know. #USChangeMovement
Evelina Weary @evelinaweary
Alumni: “Why was DPS not the first responder if this was a DPS registered party?” #uschangemovement #stopracialprofiling
Frances Wang @FrancesWang_
Sarah, the host of the “white” party: “These students weren’t treated with respect, my house was treated with respect.” #USChangeMovement
Neon Tommy @neontommy
“This meeting is a waste of time if you don’t go out to the community and engage your neighbors.” #USC #uschangemovement
Neon Tommy has an update from the forum. Here’s how it opens:
Los Angeles and campus police officials told dozens of students, who said they were victims of racial profiling by law enforcement, that authorities have concluded a strong response to a house party last weekend was not based on the race of students involved.
“We’ve looked at this really thoroughly, and there is no indication that it was race-based,” Los Angeles Police Capt. Paul Snell said Tuesday night. “Irrespective of what happened, what I would like to focus on is how we can move forward. Neither LAPD, neither DPS, neither the citizens of Los Angeles want this to happen again.”
And here’s another clip:
One was arrested on suspicion of interfering with police activity. The five others each face a misdemeanor charge. USC police chief John Thomas said he had previously been in contact with one of the students arrested, 20-year-old Rayven Vinson. He said seeing a photo of her being handcuffed hit him personally.
“This is about trust in the Department of Public Safety,” he said. “This is about you having trust in the department that’s providing protective services to you.”
L.A. Police Deputy Chief Bob Green called that first booking number devastating, saying there’s often little hope after that.
USC police chief Thomas said the university is working closely with police to make sure the students arrested are treated fairly. USC’s outgoing vice president of student affairs Michael Jackson said he’s advocating that the city attorney’s office drop the charges. Capt. Snell said the investigation is ongoing.
Here’s a short profile video of Rayven Vinson, one of the students arrested:
This next one is a first-hand account of yet another bright and well-spoken student from Santa Monica College, Anthony Stewart, who was detained Friday night:
We have a feeling this story isn’t going to go away soon. We’ll be keeping an eye on it.
MANY LATINOS AFRAID TO REPORT CRIMES, SURVEY SAYS
Latinos in LA and other cities are less likely to report crimes due to amped up immigration law enforcement and the threat of deportation, according to a new survey by the Lake Research Partners.
LA Times’ Brian Bennett has the story. Here’s a clip:
About 44% of Latinos surveyed said they were less likely now to contact police if they were victims of a crime because they fear officers will inquire about their immigration status or the status of people they know. The figure jumps to 70% among Latinos who are in the country unlawfully.
“There is fear that is really widespread,” said Nik Theodore, an associate professor of urban planning and policy at University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of the study.
The report, “Insecure Communities: Latino Perceptions of Police Involvement in Immigration Enforcement,” is based on a telephone survey of 2,004 Latinos in Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and Phoenix. The results are scheduled to be released Tuesday.
CA SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS LOCAL RIGHT TO BAN POT DISPENSARIES
The CA Supreme Court ruled Monday that state law cannot stop cities and counties from banning medical marijuana dispensaries.
Here’s a clip from the AP story:
In a unanimous opinion, the court held that California’s medical marijuana laws — the nation’s first and most liberal — neither prevent local governments from using their land-use powers to zone dispensaries out of existence nor grant authorized users convenient access to the drug.
“While some counties and cities might consider themselves well-suited to accommodating medical marijuana dispensaries, conditions in other communities might lead to the reasonable decision that such facilities within their borders, even if carefully sited, well managed, and closely monitored, would present unacceptable local risks and burdens,” Justice Marvin Baxter wrote for the seven-member court.
MCJ MAKES IT ONTO WORST LOCKUPS LIST
In other news (and not all that surprisingly), Men’s Central Jail takes the number five spot on Mother Jones’ list of America’s ten worst lockups.
Photo used with permission from Twitter user and USC forum attendee @RiniSampath.