Election day: Tuesday, May 16th, 7am-8pm
Find your polling place: http://lavote.net/locator
Measure C – the lone item on the May 16 general election ballot for most voters in the City of Los Angeles. The Measure, which is backed by the L.A. Police Protective League, purports to increase civilian oversight of the L.A. Police Department, but is in actuality a deceptive ploy to reduce accountability. Bike The Vote L.A. joins organizations concerned with civil rights, social justice, and police reform – including ACLU of Southern California, Black Lives Matter L.A., Community Coalition, L.A. Community Action Network, and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy, among others – in opposing this harmful measure.
As an organization that believes in safe and livable streets as a cornerstone of strong and healthy communities, we think all residents of Los Angeles deserve the freedom to move through public space without fear of violence or harassment, especially from law enforcement. A Sacramento police officer’s recent violent assault of a black man who was legally crossing a street is a stark reminder that the burden of heavy-handed policing and improper use of force tends to fall disproportionately on our most vulnerable residents. As national studies have shown, fear of profiling can inequitably impact access to streets and public space. The local cases of Clinton Alford and Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino make it clear that bias in policing has a serious impact on the daily lives and mobility of communities of color in Los Angeles.
It is in this context that Measure C proposes to change rules regarding the composition of disciplinary panels known as Boards of Rights, which were created in the wake of the Rodney King verdict to review disciplinary actions taken by the Chief of Police against LAPD officers who have broken the rules. Currently the panels are composed of two senior LAPD officers and one civilian appointed by the executive director of the Police Commission.
The reality is that civilian panelists more frequently side with accused LAPD officers. Many observers have pointed out that the requirements for civilians to serve on the panels likely tilt the selection process away from members of the communities affected by policing and toward individuals who are biased in an officer’s favor. Charter Amendment C would allow officers facing discipline for misconduct to opt for an all-civilian panel, likely leading to fewer officers suffering consequences when they violate department policy or the rights of the citizens they’re supposed to be protecting.
Allowing officers to go shopping for a more lenient disciplinary panel would send the wrong message to officers who might otherwise think twice about harassing or mistreating a member of the public. By helping officers who break the rules avoid being held to account, Measure C would hurt residents’ ability to safely and equitably use our city’s streets and sidewalks. For this reason, Bike The Vote L.A. urges Angelenos to vote “NO” on Measure C.