Inside the room: The entire L.A. City Council racist audio leak, annotated by our experts and reporters.
The Council just spent four hours listening to racist audio, and has not decided to call on the city attorney to investigate. L.A. City Attorney Jan Scully is refusing to investigate. But we hope our reporting on the audio reveals that racism is rampant in this city, and not just in some corners.
And we’re not the only ones thinking that. In the wake of the audio release, the Southern Poverty Law Center, The Nation magazine, and the American Prospect all weighed in on what should be done about racism in the city of Los Angeles. At the top of their list:
The Los Angeles City Council should investigate public complaints of racism and harassment by the police department. L.A. could use some diversity initiatives, especially after last month’s black and Latino city council members resigned after their racist remarks.
The L.A. city attorney has no authority to investigate or prosecute police misconduct. But he could prosecute public officials who try to silence legitimate complaints of racism. And the California attorney general’s office can investigate police misconduct. For example, if a police officer is seen harassing a person, the incident could be deemed “racial profiling.” Under California law, police officers’ racial profiling can be considered “official misconduct,” which can lead to administrative charges and fines as opposed to criminal charges and jail time.
The Los Angeles Police Department should investigate and report on recent and ongoing racist incidents.
The Los Angeles Times took another tack, suggesting that the city’s police chief, Charlie Beck, should fire Beck’s officers and appoint black leadership.
“[U]nlike the LAPD, we don’t see a black public servant who could step up to lead. Instead, we see an old, white, middle-class, male hierarchy that is so resistant to seeing a black chief,” columnist C.L. Bryant wrote.
Bryant’s column is at the lower end of the spectrum of anti-racist commentary on Los Angeles City Council race. But the idea that a black police chief would lead a modern, diverse police force has also been floated as the solution to problems at City Hall and in the LAPD.