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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

Signed. Sealed. Delivered? Community Celebrates Anti-Racial Profiling Bill

Los Angeles clergy and families celebrate Governor Brown's signature for anti-racial profiling bill.

A group of Los Angeles residents and advocacy groups representing the ACLU of California, the Youth Justice Coalition, the Asian Americans Advancing Justice, L.A. Voice, and Dignity and Power Now, held a press conference today on the steps of the LAPD 77th Street Community Police Station to celebrate Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing of Assembly Bill 953.

“We thank Governor Brown for recognizing the urgency of this moment,” said Betty Hung of the Asian Americans Advancing Justice. “As this nation and this state face a moral crisis with the killings of black people and brown people at the hands of law enforcement.”

AB 953 is the first-ever data collection bill to analyze all police stops with the intent to prevent racial and identity profiling, according to Kim McGill of Youth Justice Coalition.

“To be clear, it's no longer legal to profile people based on race, by age, by gender, by housing status, by national origin or immigration status, by LGBTQ identity, by mental condition or physical condition,” McGill said.

According to the press release, AB 953 also requires that law enforcement collect and release data on all stops, follow a stronger definition of racial and identity profiling based on race, gender, age, religion, LGBTQ identity, physical or mental condition, housing status, national origin and immigration status; and that a State Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory board will be appointed to monitor implementation of the law.

Families and friends of victims killed by law enforcement; as well as youth who have been impacted by racial profiling and faith leaders were also in attendance at the press conference. 

"This bill is for the 644 families who have buried their loved ones because of police use of force resulting in homicide in LA County alone since 2000," said McGill.

Many of the supporters in attendance held signs which said “Thank You Governor Brown.” Photos of those who had died were displayed on the steps.

One of those victims was a mentally-ill man by the name of Ezell Ford. He was stopped by police while walking home and shot by officers despite his reported willingness to comply with them. 

Brandy Brown, a neighbor of Ford’s, held his photo as she expressed her concern for the youth of Los Angeles.

"At that time I had a one-year-old daughter and one of her first words that she stood up and said was 'Hands up, don't shoot,'" said Brown. "Why should a one-year-old be in fear of getting shot or saying 'hands up, don't shoot?'"

According to the press release, this year alone more than 150 people were killed by law enforcement in California.

Now that the bill is signed, the real work is ensuring law enforcement agencies comply with the law, said Hung.

“We're ready to partner and we call on LAPD and all law enforcement throughout the state to work with us, to embrace transparency and accountability,” said Hung. “We can in Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King's words: ensure that justice rolls down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

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