The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is launching a program that would bring officers face to face with civilians who have accused them of racial profiling, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The program called “Community-Employee Mediation Pilot Program” will run about three years and would allow the officer accused of racial profiling and the racially profiled victim the opportunity to discuss the encounter where the alleged incident occurred.
Those who are interested in the meetings would attend only on a voluntary basis. The parties involved will have an impartial and trained mediator, a volunteer that would be provided by the City Attorney’s office.
The pilot program is a giant step for the LAPD, which has been dogged over the years with thousands of accusations of racial bias policing in its ranks. A report that was authored by Yale economist and law professor Dr. Ian Ayres was released in the fall of 2008 by the ACLU of Southern California, showing that Black and Hispanic residents are stopped, frisked, searched, and arrested by LAPD officers far more frequently than White residents.
In response to the report, the LAPD rejected a number of key recommendations made by Ayres, a renowned statistician who has authored several studies relating to issues of racially disparate treatment in a variety of areas.
The current program’s mediation sessions will take place in cases that do not involve allegations of physical assault, racially bias, verbal insults, or more serious charges.