Who Let the 'Racist' Police Dogs Out?
In the L.A. Sheriff’s Department, as in the LAPD and most police departments, canine teams are deployed to locate felony suspects who have evaded capture by more conventional means. This typically involves a car or foot chase, at the end of which a suspect hides in a place he thinks (or hopes) he will not be found. In such a state of fear, suspects are most often an easy mark for police dogs, which are trained to detect scents given off by people under stress, whatever their race or ethnicity.
But you needn’t take my word for this racial disparity in the crime numbers. The Los Angeles Times, as reliably liberal as any mainstream newspaper in the country, publishes on its website the Homicide Report, which includes a map depicting where the county’s homicides have occurred this year. You’ll note that the largest circle on the map, denoting the highest number of homicides, is centered near the interchange of the Harbor and Century Freeways, right in the heart of heavily black and Latino South-Central L.A. The Times also details the race or ethnicity of every L.A. County homicide victim back to Jan. 1, 2007. Of the 5,039 victims tallied as of Oct. 4, 2,513, or about half, have been Latino, and 1,652, or about 33 percent, have been black. Los Angeles County’s population is nearly 10 million, of which about 48 percent are Latino and about 9 percent are black. Thus, in the words of the L.A. Times: “That means one in a 1,000 [sic] blacks became homicide victims over those three years, more than 10 times the rate for whites and nearly four times the rate for Latinos.”
Given that most homicides are intra-racial, we can conclude that the perpetrators of these crimes reflect a similar racial and ethnic pattern. And if homicides can be considered a benchmark for violent crime in a county or an area within it, it is safe to assume these numbers reflect the overall criminal population in L.A. County, i.e., those whose behavior makes them more likely than others to be the object of Sheriff’s Department canine search.
But explaining this to the editors at The Independent and their readers is, I fear, a fool’s errand. They would have you believe that the only guns and drugs to be found in the more troubled neighborhoods of Los Angeles are those that have been planted on innocent people by racist cops – with the help of their equally racist dogs.
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