LOS ANGELES - The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California clarified to Los Angeles City Council today its stance on the collection of racial profiling data by the LAPD, which is a requirement under the federal consent decree.

Staff Attorney Catherine Lhamon provided the following statement to members of the City Council:

I wish to clarify the ACLU of Southern California's position on the collection of LAPD racial profiling data, which was mischaracterized in yesterday's Daily News. The ACLU-SC strongly supports collection of LAPD racial profiling data as quickly as practicable, as well as full compliance with the terms of the consent decree negotiated between the City and the United States Department of Justice. As we have repeated time and again, we believe the persons living, working, and traveling in Los Angeles deserve review of police practices to ensure that race does not determine their treatment at the hands of our police. It is essential that data collection not be delayed.

As the consent decree requires, the LAPD must collect comprehensive data concerning the putative reason for a motorist or pedestrian stop. The LAPD must record not only the apparent race of the persons stopped, but also identifying information for the officers involved and the date and time of the stop, the reason for the stop, and the circumstances of the stop, including whether the persons were searched and why and whether the persons consented to such a search. This crucial information begins the important process of monitoring police practices to hold our officers accountable to the public.

Certainly the methods for analysis of the data, once collected, are also critically important, and the public deserves information regarding the various options for data analysis, including information concerning which data collection methods are already in use in other cities and states. We remain bewildered by closed-door exclusionary practices that prevent the community from participating in key components to implementing meaningful police reform, and we expect that the LAPD and the City will immediately begin involving community members in the process of determining how to analyze the data to be collected. But that imperative to involve the community cannot impede the progress of the actual collection. The consent decree mandates that the collection begin by November 1, 2001, and our community deserves nothing less.