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Case Name United States of America v. County of Los Angeles PN-CA-0028
Docket / Court 2:15-cv-03174-JFW-FFM ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
The U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division initiated a civil investigation of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department on August 19, 2011. The investigation focused on allegations of unconstitutional conduct by deputies at two stations located in the Antelope Valley cities of Lancaster and ... read more >
The U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division initiated a civil investigation of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department on August 19, 2011. The investigation focused on allegations of unconstitutional conduct by deputies at two stations located in the Antelope Valley cities of Lancaster and Palmdale, California. DOJ proceeded under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994,42 U.S.C. § 14141 (Section 14141), and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,42 U.S.C. § 2000d (Title VI). These laws authorize the United States to file a legal action when it has reasonable cause to believe that a law enforcement agency engages in a pattern or practice of violations of the Constitution or laws of the United States. In addition, the investigation was also founded on the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3631.

On June 28, 2013, the Civil Rights Division issued a findings letter to the LASD. The letter explained that DOJ had found that LASD's Antelope Valley stations engaged in a pattern or practice of discriminatory and otherwise unlawful searches and seizures, including the use of unreasonable force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment and Title VI. DOJ found, as well, that deputies assigned to these stations have engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against African Americans in violation of the Fair Housing Act, by targeting certain residents who possessed housing vouchers.

Although the County denied the allegation of unconstitutional conduct, simultaneous to the findings letter being made public, the parties entered a "statement of intent" to reach a comprehensive settlement agreement to be negotiated between the County of Los Angeles, and the U.S. The statement of intent explained that "[t]he Agreement to be negotiated is intended to ensure that: 1) LASD personnel in the Antelope Valley engage in practices that comply with the Constitution and laws of the United States; and 2) the objectives of LASD's Core Values and Trust-Based Policing program are realized in the Antelope Valley community." The "statement of intent" indicated that the parties intended to reach a final settlement agreement by August 30, 2013.

In the event, settlement negotiations took quite a bit longer. It was not until April 28, 2015, that the Department of Justice filed, simultaneously, this lawsuit and its proposed settlement agreement. The case was filed in the U.S. Federal District Court for the Central District of California.

Per the complaint, the DOJ brought this action under the Violent Crime Control and Enforcement Act (42 U.S.C. § 14141) and Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act as amended by the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. § 3601). The DOJ alleged that the County violated the 14th Amendment and the Fair Housing Act by engaging in the conduct described in its June 2013 letter. Specifically, the complaint alleged that the County:

(a) detained individuals without legal authority
(b) engaged in a pattern of unreasonable force in violation of the 14th amendment
(c) stopped and searched African American and Latino residents on impermissible considerations of race and ethnicity in violation of the 14th amendment
(d) violated the Fair Housing Act through by targeting African American residents participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program
(e) failed to create adequate accountability systems to curb unlawful policing

The DOJ sought declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and damages.

Under the terms of the settlement, filed the same day, within four years the County will:

(a) create procedures to stop the practice of and detect discriminatory stops, searches, and seizures, as well as training on appropriate practices and the terms of the Settlement Agreement
(b) ensure bias-free policing through training and monitoring of its practices across the County
(c) create and implement a housing non-discrimination policy, as well as a mechanism for documenting all incidents involving voucher holders
(d) enhance its data collection, analysis, and reporting methods to better assess its programs and improvement
(e) enhance community engagement through increased transparency and community feedback mechanisms
(f) revise its policies on use of force to encourage alternatives and de-escalation, prohibit certain actions, promote reporting on all incidents of use of force, and provide for supervision, training, and analysis
(g) create and implement policies to ensure accountability through personnel complaint review procedures, analysis of personnel data, and mentorship
(e) comply with stipulated monitoring requirements and assessment procedures

Further, the Settlement required the County to pay $700,000 to those harmed by its violations of the Fair Housing Act and $25,000 in civil penalties.

The Court approved the settlement agreement on May 1, 2015 and a supplemental settlement agreement on July 21, 2015. The supplemental settlement agreement established the terms and schedule for awarding damages to individuals harmed by the County's violation of the Fair Housing Act.

The case is now placed on the Court's inactive docket, and Court retains jurisdiction over the settlement's enforcement. The case will be closed with prejudice once the settlement is fully executed.

- 03/05/2015
Marcy Blattner - 04/05/2015
Virginia Weeks - 01/23/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Auditing
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Provide antidiscrimination training
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Required disclosure
Training
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Excessive force
Failure to train
False arrest
Incident/accident reporting & investigations
Language/ethnic/minority needs
Search policies
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 14141
Fair Housing Act/Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
Defendant(s) Los Angeles County
Plaintiff Description United States
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2015 - 2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  New York City to Pay Up to $75 Million Over Dismissed Summonses
New York Times
Date: Jan. 23, 2017
By: Benjamin Weiser (New York Times)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Data examining the Department of Justice's civil rights investigations of local and state police departments
Marshall Project
Date: Jan. 17, 2017
By: Tom Meagher (Marshall Project)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Civil Rights Division’s Pattern and Practice Police Reform Work: 1994-Present
https://www.justice.gov/
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  An Interactive Guide to the Civil Rights Division’s Police Reforms
https://www.justice.gov/
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Bravo v. Board of Commissioners of Dona Ana County
http://www.bazelon.org/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Date: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
Date: 2014
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program )
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:15-cv-3174 (C.D. Cal.)
PN-CA-0028-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/23/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Justice Department Opens Investigation into the Antelope Valley Stations of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
PN-CA-0028-0004.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 08/19/2011
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Statement of Intent
PN-CA-0028-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/27/2013
Re: Investigation of Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department Stations in Antelope Valley
PN-CA-0028-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/28/2013
Justice Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Agree to Policing Reforms and Settlement of Police-Related Fair Housing Claims in the Antelope Valley
PN-CA-0028-0005.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 04/28/2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PN-CA-0028-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/28/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 4]
PN-CA-0028-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/28/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Order Approving Settlement Agreement and Order of Resolution and Entry of Judgment [ECF# 14] (C.D. Cal.)
PN-CA-0028-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Approving Supplemental Settlement Agreement [ECF# 17] (C.D. Cal.)
PN-CA-0028-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/21/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 4-1]
PN-CA-0028-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/15/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Walter, John F. (C.D. Cal.)
PN-CA-0028-0008 | PN-CA-0028-0009 | PN-CA-0028-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Austin, Roy L. (District of Columbia)
PN-CA-0028-0002
Friel, Gregory (District of Columbia)
PN-CA-0028-0007
Gupta, Vanita (District of Columbia)
PN-CA-0028-0005 | PN-CA-0028-0006 | PN-CA-0028-0007 | PN-CA-0028-0008 | PN-CA-0028-0008
Hagler, Tamar (District of Columbia)
PN-CA-0028-0006 | PN-CA-0028-0007 | PN-CA-0028-0008
Hart, Charles W. Jr. (District of Columbia)
PN-CA-0028-0002 | PN-CA-0028-0006 | PN-CA-0028-0007 | PN-CA-0028-0008 | PN-CA-0028-9000
Hayat, Norrinda B. (District of Columbia)
PN-CA-0028-0006 | PN-CA-0028-0007 | PN-CA-0028-0008 | PN-CA-0028-9000
Kappelhoff, Mark (District of Columbia)
PN-CA-0028-0007
Ladewski, Kathryn (District of Columbia)
PN-CA-0028-0006 | PN-CA-0028-0007 | PN-CA-0028-0008 | PN-CA-0028-9000
Leung, Michelle (District of Columbia)
PN-CA-0028-0002
Lopez, Christy (District of Columbia)
PN-CA-0028-0002 | PN-CA-0028-0006 | PN-CA-0028-0008
Lynch, Loretta (New York)
PN-CA-0028-0006 | PN-CA-0028-0007 | PN-CA-0028-0008 | PN-CA-0028-0008
Monteleone, Robyn-Marie L (California)
PN-CA-0028-0006 | PN-CA-0028-0007 | PN-CA-0028-0008 | PN-CA-0028-0008 | PN-CA-0028-9000
Pagnucco, Carrie (District of Columbia)
PN-CA-0028-0006 | PN-CA-0028-0007 | PN-CA-0028-0008 | PN-CA-0028-9000
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
PN-CA-0028-0001
Preston, Judith C. (District of Columbia)
PN-CA-0028-0006 | PN-CA-0028-0007 | PN-CA-0028-0008 | PN-CA-0028-0008
Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)
PN-CA-0028-0006 | PN-CA-0028-0007 | PN-CA-0028-0008 | PN-CA-0028-0008
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)
PN-CA-0028-0002
Weidman, Leon W. (California)
PN-CA-0028-0006 | PN-CA-0028-0007 | PN-CA-0028-0008 | PN-CA-0028-0008
Yonekura, Stephanie (District of Columbia)
PN-CA-0028-0006 | PN-CA-0028-0007 | PN-CA-0028-0008 | PN-CA-0028-0008
Defendant's Lawyers Granbo, Roger H. (California)
PN-CA-0028-0002 | PN-CA-0028-0007 | PN-CA-0028-0008 | PN-CA-0028-9000
Saladino, Mark J. (California)
PN-CA-0028-0007 | PN-CA-0028-0008

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