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LAPD Police Chief Appointment Must Prioritize Shift from Criminalization to Equity and Care-Centered Safety



Media Contacts:

Marsha Mitchell, Senior Director of Communications, Community Coalition 

Ronald Simms, Associate Director of Communications, Catalyst California

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Angelenos of color have experienced decades of harassment, trauma, economic extraction, physical harm, and death at the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department. This all starts at the top. Police chief after police chief has failed to sufficiently address—and too often condoned or spearheaded—the Department’s racist policies and practices. As a ripple effect, we have seen worse safety outcomes in communities of color while whiter, more affluent areas have thrived. In light of the Mayor’s forthcoming appointment of a new LAPD Chief, a network of organizations rooted in advancing racial and economic equity in the City of Los Angeles, including – Community Coalition, Catalyst California, LA Voice, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – Los Angeles, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Equity Alliance, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Inner City Struggle, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Southern California – call for a shift from criminalization to a commitment to care and equity through the prioritization of the following values:

  1. A Commitment to Racial Equity and Social Justice: Under past LAPD chiefs, Black, Indigenous, Immigrant, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities have been criminalized, racially profiled, and subjected to uses of force, intimidation, and harassment. These inequities erode community trust in LAPD and undermine safety. The next police chief must deeply understand social justice issues and be committed to promoting equity. This includes addressing systemic biases, implementing unbiased policing practices, and actively working towards eliminating disparities in law enforcement. In addition, this means full inclusion of immigrants regardless of status in advancing community safety.
  2. End Pretextual Stops: The department’s pretextual stop strategy 1) disproportionately targets drivers of color despite finding contraband more often among white drivers, 2) focuses on low-income neighborhoods, placing a crippling financial burden on residents, and 3) wastes taxpayer resources through hours spent on frivolous stops and searches—only 2% of which resulted in arrests. Most appalling of all – these pretextual stops have led to the harassment, abuse, and murder of Black and Brown Angelenos. 
  3. Accountability & Transparency: Officers who harm community members should be held accountable for their actions to help ensure fair and unbiased policing practices and rebuild public trust.
  4. A Commitment to Care-Centered Safety: Health-related emergencies should be handled through health practitioners, not programs involving the LAPD or the criminal legal system. There should be an emphasis on diversion, de-escalation, and care-centered treatment rather than incarceration and punishment.  
  5. Improve Transportation Infrastructure: Punishment-centered responses—such as ticket fees and fines—only serve to extract economic resources from low-income communities rather than improve roadway safety. Research shows that infrastructure design upgrades addressing the root causes of traffic safety risks produce better long-term outcomes than policing. This should occur without reliance on surveillance technologies—such as ticketing cameras and license plate readers—that replicate racially and economically biased harms produced by law enforcement.
  6. Consult with Racial Justice Movement Organizations: Because of the devastating impact of LAPD on communities of color, racial justice movement organizations have been at the forefront of LAPD reform for decades and should be meaningfully consulted—through a mayoral meeting—to determine the next LAPD Chief. Their close nexus to key issues the LAPD chief will undoubtedly be forced to manage—including racial profiling, police violence, and community safety—makes them apt for developing effective long-term solutions that not only redress harms done but also chart a path toward true safety for all Angelenos.   

There is a need for systemic change in the LAPD. The harm and disparities experienced by BIPOC communities under past LAPD chiefs are deeply rooted in issues that require urgent attention and reform. It is essential for the next police chief to prioritize accountability and equitable policing practices to begin addressing these historical injustices. By acknowledging and rectifying these disparities, Los Angeles can move towards a more just and inclusive future for all its residents.