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Keith Allison (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Keith Allison (CC BY-SA 2.0)

New report reveals L.A.’s Black and Latino communities have been arrested at a 'disproportionate rate'

The two groups combined make up over two-thirds of all arrests from 2019 to 2022, according to an analysis of LAPD data from City Controller Kenneth Mejia.

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According to a new analysis of Los Angeles Police Department data released this week by L.A. City Controller Kenneth Mejia, Black and Latino people were arrested at a "disproportionate rate" from 2019 to 2022.

Making up about 8% of the nation’s total population, Black people accounted for 27% of all arrests while Latinos, who account for nearly half (48%) of all of LA County, made up 51% of total arrests.

When combined, both groups account for 56% of the county's population and made up 78.26% of all arrests, according to the report. White people, which make up 29% of the county, account for 16% and are third in the total number of arrests. 

The recent analysis is the first time the LAPD has made its arrest data available to the public without limitations. With detailed maps as well as locations, it shows the department's almost 300,000 arrests in the last four years.

Council District 14, which is represented by disgraced L.A. City Council Member Kevin de León, had the highest number of arrests nearly every year — except in 2021, by three arrests, to Council District 8, which is led by the council's current President Pro Tempore Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

De León's district is predominantly Latino with eastside neighborhoods such as Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights and El Sereno, according to InnerCity Struggle's website.

Henry Perez, the executive director of the nonprofit InnerCity Struggle, described the City Controller’s analysis as alarming, however, not surprising. 

"Our community feels it on a daily basis," Perez said. "What we really need to call out is that the majority of the arrests are for infractions and misdemeanors. These are nonviolent and nondrug-related offenses" that can lead to "very precarious" situations, he said, noting aggressive outcomes especially against Black and Latino individuals.

"From our history, we know that more policing does not equate to safer schools or safer communities," Perez said. "We know that we get safer schools and safer communities when students and community residents are supported holistically."

According to reporting from NBC News, LAPD made more arrests for misdemeanor and infraction offenses than for felonies in all four years.

Almost 400 arrests were made yearly in the "dependent" category, which accounts for children taken into custody because of parent or guardian abuse, neglect, endangerment, or runaway children, according to the analysis.

"The data available is unclear about the nature of these interactions, but raises questions about the frequency that children and youth are coming into contact with the LAPD," the report stated.

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