The agreement follows the department’s issuing of a findings letter in June 2013 following an investigation which began in August 2011. Sheriff Jim McDonnell, his predecessors and Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles Executive Director Sean Rogan were all cooperative throughout the investigation and began working with the department to negotiate a remedy to the problems revealed by the investigation.
This settlement resolves claims from the department’s investigation which found patterns of excessive use of force, biased policing practices, including housing discrimination, and unlawful searches and seizures. LASD has already begun to implement many of the negotiated reforms under the leadership of Sheriff Jim McDonnell. The Justice Department and the county filed the settlement agreement with the United States District Court for approval and entry as an order.
“Constitutional policing and effective policing go hand in hand,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division. “We are confident that this settlement represents a commitment by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to respect the rights of residents and promote mutual confidence between law enforcement and the community. This agreement puts in place a structure that will foster lawful, bias-free policing in the Antelope Valley, and ensures compensation for persons harmed by past unlawful conduct. We look forward to continuing our positive partnership with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to implement the terms of this settlement agreement and to help restore the community’s confidence in fair, equitable, and effective law enforcement.”
The investigation was brought pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act. The investigation concluded that there was reasonable cause to believe that deputies engaged in a pattern or practice of misconduct in violation of the Constitution and federal law. The findings, which were announced in June 2013, include:
Under the settlement agreement, LASD has agreed to implement comprehensive reforms to ensure lawful policing and restore public trust. An independent monitoring team will oversee the reforms, which LASD intends to implement within four years. In addition, the monitoring team will provide technical assistance and publicly report on the LASD’s compliance efforts. The settlement agreement provides for a $700,000 fund to compensate persons harmed by LASD’s alleged violation of the Fair Housing Act, and a $25,000 civil penalty to the United States. The areas covered by the settlement agreement include:
This agreement does not resolve the department’s claims against the Housing Authority of Los Angeles County, the county of Los Angeles as it relates to the Housing Authority of the county of Los Angeles, the city of Lancaster or the city of Palmdale for related conduct under the Fair Housing Act. Those parties are continuing to work toward a resolution.
The investigation was conducted by the Civil Rights Division. The investigation involved an in-depth review of thousands of pages of documents, including written policies and procedures, training materials, and internal reports, data, video footage and investigative files. Department of Justice attorneys and investigators also conducted interviews with officers, supervisors, command staff and city officials as well as spoke with hundreds of community members and local advocates, and worked with experts in police practices.