Racial disparities in LAPD arrest data noted in LA city controller report; LAPD responds

The Los Angeles Police Department arrested Black and Hispanic/Latino people at a "disproportionate rate" between 2019-2022, according to a new report released by City Controller Kenneth Mejia

The report shows that approximately 78% of all arrests made by the LAPD over that time period were Black and Hispanic/Latino people, despite those demographics making up only about 56% of the city's population.

The report included a map chronicling nearly 300,000 LAPD arrests in the past four years. The data "marks the first time the data has been made accessible and mapped for the public without limitations," according to Mejia's report.

LAPD officials responded to the report saying that the data analyzed by the controller's office came from the Mayor's Open Data Portal, which includes arrests made by agencies other than the LAPD.

"It appears that over the four years, 12.3%…arrests were made by non-LAPD entities/private persons and booked in LAPD facilities," said LAPD. "This includes 16,052 private persons arrests, 3,995 LAWA (Airport) Police arrests and 7,751 CHP (California Highway Patrol) arrests."

The arrests reported also included individuals who do not reside in the city of Los Angeles, according to the LAPD.

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Mejia's office responded to the LAPD's statement, saying the report "relied on LAPD's only comprehensive, publicly available arrest data, which they update weekly on the city's/Mayor's Open Data Portal."

The city controller's office added that LAPD did "not refute" the report's findings, and that "racial disparities exist in their arrests or that Black and Latino people are arrested at a disproportionate rate."

The controller's office recommended the department update its arrest data to include LAPD-specific arrests.

According to LAPD, the disparities noted can be explained by accounting for representation breakdown within residential areas. Officials state that "while Black Angelenos make up 8% of the residential population they represent 24% of violent crime victims and 39% of homicide victims. Similarly, when combined, Black and Hispanic victims represent 70% of reported violent crime and 87% of homicides."

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LAPD officials added that Black individuals are reported offenders in 41% of violent crime, 39% of homicides and half of robberies.

According to Mejia's office, LAPD's response and added statistics neglect the roles that over-policing, racial profiling and discrimination play in this data.

"Citing these statistics that emphasize the alleged criminality of communities that are over-policed, marginalized, disenfranchised and discriminated plays on racist stereotypes in an attempt to excuse over-policing of disenfranchised communities and neighborhoods," according to Mejia's office.

LAPD officials stated the department strives to ensure its actions are "free of bias or discrimination."

"Each arrest must stand on its own rooted in probable cause and evidence including victim and witness accounts, forensic evidence when available, and the most recent advent of body worn video recording the actions of all involved."

The full report can be found at controller.lacity.gov/landings/arrests. The map can be viewed at arrests.lacontroller.io.