Are Los Angeles Police Dogs Racist?

    October 13, 2013

Perhaps it’s not as critical as the Rampart controversy in the late 90’s, where a flock of rogue cops, who were associated with gangs, robbed a bank, engaged in a fatal road rage incident, and were accused of killing rapper Biggie Smalls. It’s (debatably) not as reckless as that early morning on February 7th of this year, when a pickup truck that looked like it belonged to cop killer Christoper Dorner was shot up 100 times.

No, the police of Los Angeles are suffering a different type of controversy, one that questions the very sanctity of what it means to be “man’s best friend”; racist dogs.

A report by the Police Assessment Resource Centre (PARC), a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization, found that in the first six months of 2013, all 17 Los Angeles Sheriff Department (LASD) K-9 unit dog bites were inflicted upon African American and Latino individuals. The report mentioned that between the years of 2004 and 2013, Latino individuals bitten by LASD canines rose 30 per cent (39 individuals bitten), while African Americans bit were increased by 33 per cent (12 individuals bitten).

The report mentions that  the large minority populated areas of Century, City of Industry, Compton, Lakewood, and South LA and Lennox incur more dog bites than all the other 21 districts that the LASD patrols combined.

So is there a discrepancy? Is this a case of institutionalized racism? Is the crime in those areas just higher? Are the dogs not socialized?

The US Department of Justice found that in the areas patrolled by the LASD, “African Americans, and to a lesser extent Latinos, are more likely to be stopped and/or searched than whites, even when controlling for factors other than race, such as crime rates.” A report in 2008 by the Los Angeles Times found that “For every 10,000 residents, about 3,400 more black people are stopped than whites, and 360 more Latinos are stopped than whites. Stopped blacks are 127% more likely to be frisked — and stopped Latinos are 43% more likely to be frisked — than stopped whites.”

A critic over at Blur Brain says that crime is the reason for the increased dog bites, mentioning that, “The most obvious being that the vast majority of crimes in LA are committed by either blacks or Latinos.” And that PARC is actually “another Democrat money laundering front who’s cover story is to create excuses for wanton criminality among the Democrat’s victim class constituents. But their real purpose is to kickback a some of the money they receive to the DNC.”

Since racism is a learned behavior, the dogs are, perhaps, just conditioned and not socialized with those of color. One redditor commented on the story, saying that it’s a matter of socializing the pooches:

So, who’s barking up the wrong tree here?

(Pictures via WikiCommons (1), (2))