LOS ANGELES – Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District, and co-authored by Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell to oppose AB 958, unless amended to include language on cliques and gangs who identify themselves by a name and may be associated with an identifying symbol and the prohibition of participation in a law enforcement clique, among other language.
“It is imperative that incoming legislation directly address any potential gaps in our ongoing efforts to expose deputy cliques and gangs,” shared Chair Solis. “By amending this bill to include language that directly prohibits participation in a law enforcement clique, we are delineating a clear stance that cliques that engage in discriminatory behavior will not persist in our current law enforcement system.”
The bill as currently constructed limits the prohibition on law enforcement cliques to circumstances in which there is misconduct separate and apart from membership. Consequently, even when a group has been identified as a law enforcement clique, membership cannot be prohibited unless the peace officer also engages in illicit activity. As a result, a peace officer cannot be disciplined or terminated for membership alone.
“It is critical that we acknowledge the history of deputy gangs in Los Angeles County and make sure any statewide legislation ends this unlawful practice,” shared Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. “Sheriff deputies must understand that there will be consequences for engaging in misconduct and be aware of the erosion of community trust that stems from even the appearance of impropriety.”
“Secretive extremist groups inside law enforcement cannot go unchecked,” shared Inspector General Max Huntsman. “The amendments the Board is calling for correctly focus on racial and gender bias and seek to shine light on corruption that has been kept from the public’s eyes for fifty years.”
A clique is a subgroup of law enforcement officers within a law-enforcement agency unit that joins together to the exclusion of others within that unit, and that identifies itself by a name and is often associated with an identifying symbol, including matching tattoos, and that engages in or promotes conduct that violates the rights of other employees or members of the public, violates law-enforcement agency policy, or otherwise causes undue embarrassment or damage to the law-enforcement agency’s reputation and/or erodes the public’s confidence. The language should make clear that any employee who actively participates in or solicits another employee to join a clique, will be subject to discipline.
To read the full motion, click here.
Kimberly Ortega, Acting Communications Director, (213) 361-6435 or KOrtega@bos.lacounty.gov
Stephany Villaseñor, Communications Deputy, (213) 308-9017 or SVillasenor@bos.lacounty.gov