LASD Accused of Discriminatory Policing Against Voucher Holders
Last month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it has opened a civil investigation into allegations of discriminatory policing by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) members based in the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale, Calif. The investigation will focus on allegations that the Lancaster and Palmdale stations of the LASD are engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of race or national origin in violation of federal law, including the Fair Housing Act.
The investigation is to determine whether there has been a systematic violation of federal law based on allegations that deputies have sought to identify during routine traffic stops individuals who use Housing Choice Vouchers.
Investigators will look into allegations that the LASD has conducted warrantless searches of African-American families' homes under the auspices of housing authority compliance inspections, and that housing authority investigators based in the Lancaster and Palmdale sheriff's stations have been accompanied by sheriff's deputies as they conduct routine housing contract compliance checks. Allegedly, the deputies sometimes approach the Section 8 recipient's home with guns drawn and in full SWAT armor and conduct searches and questioning themselves, unrelated to the housing program.
In addition, the DOJ has an ongoing investigation under the Fair Housing Act of the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster, as well as of the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles (HACoLA), to determine whether there has been a systematic effort to discriminate against African-Americans and Latinos.