LOS ANGELES - The following statement can be attributed to ACLU of Southern California Executive Director Ramona Ripston.

'The ACLU applauds the decision of U.S. District Judge Gary A. Feess extending the LAPD consent decree in full for three more years. Following the Rampart brutality scandal, and an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, the City entered into the decree to end a pervasive pattern of constitutional rights violations by the LAPD. We appreciate the progress the LAPD has made and welcome Chief Bratton's acknowledgment that reforming the LAPD culture, policies and practices "has been driven largely by the consent decree."

The extension of the decree will benefit Los Angeles by requiring the LAPD to improve in vital areas. The department still must implement a computerized system for tracking problem officers with bad disciplinary records. Disparities in traffic stops show that the department still needs to work harder to ensure that its officers are not discriminating against anyone on the basis of race. The consent decree will compel progress on those reforms as well as prevent us from backsliding in other areas.

We all want a police department that we can trust to protect and serve us effectively and fairly. In court today, the ACLU/SC argued on behalf of the community we represent that the serious noncompliance to date requires extension of the full decree and not only the pared-down version the City and the United States wanted to see extended. The consent decree will remain an important tool for building that trust as it guarantees the sustained commitment necessary to create the kind of police department, and ensure the public safety, we all deserve.'

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