California Board Recommends Routine Checks of Police Cell Phones, Computers and Social Media for Racist Content

Illustration for article titled California Board Recommends Routine Checks of Police Cell Phones, Computers and Social Media for Racist Content
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A state advisory board in California has recommended that police agencies routinely review the cell phones, computers and social media pages of police officers for racist and otherwise offensive content in an effort to weed out officers who are prone to racial profiling.

Imagine that: Cops all over the Golden State getting profiled to make sure they aren’t the types who are likely to profile others. I can see the blue tears flowing already.

The Associated Press reports that the recommendation came after the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board released its fourth annual report. The report involves an analysis of nearly 4 million vehicle and pedestrian stops by California’s 15 largest law enforcement agencies in 2019. The analysis was conducted by community and law enforcement representatives.

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From AP:

The Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board report was unveiled amid calls to defund police and promises from state lawmakers to renew efforts to strip badges from bad officers, make more police misconduct records public, and allow community groups to handle mental health and drug calls where police powers may not be needed.

People who were perceived as Black were more than twice as likely to be stopped as their percentage of the population would suggest, the board said in its fourth annual report.

Black people also had the highest proportion of their stops (21%) for reasonable suspicion, while the most common reason for stops of people of all races was traffic violations. Black people were searched at 2.5 times the rate of people perceived as white.

And the odds were 1.45 times greater that someone perceived as Black had force used against them during a traffic stop compared to someone perceived as white. The odds were 1.18 times greater for people perceived as Latino.

Obviously, if you’re Black, the findings of this report are about as surprising as the sky turning less blue when the weather is bad. What’s possibly even less surprising is the cop-splanation provided by the Los Angeles Police Protective League board of directors as to why the disproportionate numbers may not have anything to do with racism.

“What these numbers don’t tell is that in Los Angeles, 70% of violent crime victims are either Black or Hispanic and that 81% of the reported violent crime suspects are either Black or Hispanic,” the league said in a statement, AP reports.

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Law Enforcement and other assorted white people have always cited crime statistics in justifying racial profiling. The Root’s Michael Harriot has already done a brilliant job in explaining why that’s a bunch of racist bullshit.

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Besides, the league’s justification is kind of an “I know you are, but what am I?” argument in that the subject at hand is police misconduct and the response is pretty much: “But Black people commit the most misconduct of everyone.” And for what? The board only recommended that officers’ department-issued phones and computers be checked, which means cops can potentially continue being racist AF in text messages and emails sent from their personal devices. Of course, that wouldn’t extend to their social media accounts, but how hard is it to not post racist shit on Facebook especially considering the fact that cops stay getting fired for posting racist shit on Facebook?

My point is, the board’s recommendation is really a bare minimum effort to check cops for bias, and yet law enforcement is still complaining and blame-shifting.

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I guess, “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about” only applies to us.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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Nunna Yorz - You're NOT my ally just because you hate Trump

I guess, “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about” only applies to us.

Pretty much. Anytime the word accountability is even whispered around them they start whining. This is only a recommendation. I hope we get a follow up as I’d like to see if this eventually goes anywhere.