A car impound scheme orchestrated by several California police officers has King City, California in an uproar. An investigation found that the police chief and several officers were selling or giving away the impounded cars of poor Hispanic residents. Although many of the residents of King City are Hispanic and do no speak English, several had been complaining that the police were taking and selling their cars unfairly.
Several residents complained of being targeted by the police and being stopped for simple things like tinted windows or broken taillights. Although these are common reasons for police to pull over a vehicle, most officers will give out warnings before writing tickets and even those who do write a ticket will not go as far as to impound the car for something so simple.
“It seems like they just want a reason to pull you over,” one resident said.
The three officers charged in the scheme were Tow shop owner Brian Miller, his brother acting police chief Bruce Miller, and Sgt. Bobby Carillo . The men allegedly towed impounded vehicles to an impound lot but sold or gave them away when the owners could not pay the fees to get them out of impound.
Many of the Hispanic residents in King City said that they were afraid of the police and did not feel that they were being protected or treated properly because of their race. Although the three officers involved in the scheme have been arrested, many residents are still finding it hard to trust the King City police.
It will be hard for the city to recover from such unjust acts. City Manager Michael Powers said that he hopes it is something that happens soon, but understands the distrust of the residents.
“Obviously no one should be targeted because of race, but recent immigrants are at something of a disadvantage,” Powers said. “They already fear the police. It makes them easy prey.”
Do you think police officers in other cities are guilty of similar crimes against minorities?
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