Stop LAPD Spying at the L.A. Human Relations Commission: 9/5 9:30am

Why We’re Demanding Public Hearings

On September 5th, We demand that:

HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION HOLD PUBLIC HEARINGS ON THE LAPD SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY REPORTING (SAR) PROGRAM.  POLICIES SUCH AS SPECIAL ORDER 1 AND iWATCH DECREASE PUBLIC SAFETY AND INHIBIT HEALTHY HUMAN RELATIONS!

  • Special Order 1 and iWATCH create a suspicion based cultureand makes people more fearful and reactive (violent vigilantism has already taken place throughout the country)

  • It is a Criminalization of normal behavior like taking a picture, asking businesses hours of operation, using a video camera, taking notes and many other innocent behaviors.

  • It promotes racial profiling- A March 2013 LAPD Inspector General (IG) Audit of SARs exposed in a sample of race data: over 82% of SARs were filed on individuals belonging to racial groups identified as non-white. The largest number of SARs were filed on African Americans. The IG audit also revealed that even after nothing wrong is found after a SAR is filed, LAPD still wants to retain our information for 10 Years.

  • It is an Invasion of privacy!

  • This is a waste of resources! An October 2012 US Senate audit of intelligence gathering at Fusion Centers exposed that information listed on SARs received from police departments like LAPD was often:

  •  Flawed, irrelevant or useless;

  • Inappropriate or unrelated to terrorism;

  • Had nothing of value;

  • Could have violated privacy act protections;

  • Often outdated, duplicative and uninformative.

When asked by LA Times about the senate subcommittee report, LAPDdeputy chief and head of counter-terrorism bureau Michael Downing said “There’s a lot of white noise, but there are occasional gold nuggets.” Yet Downing “did not know” whether any of these “gold nuggets” have led to a conviction. Its Garbage In, Garbage Out. We need more community centers, affordable housing, medical centers, youth centers, etc.- not more criminalization.

  • There is No transparency- we demand access to the details of the policies that affect our daily lives. The public has the right to be educated by the city     about Special Order 1 and other surveillance and infiltration based programs.

  • Who is watching the watchers? Nationally, the corruption of similar surveillance-based programs has been recently exposed- so how about locally, here in LA?

  • This is not an evidence based policyLAPD claims that SO 1and iWATCH are based on the concepts of data mining and behavioral surveillance. The National Academy of Science in a 2008 report concluded regarding behavioral surveillance that “although research and development on certain aspects of this topic are warranted, there is no scientific consensus on whether these techniques are ready for operational use at all in counterterrorism.” The study further concluded regarding data mining that “although these methods have been useful in the private sector for spotting consumer fraud, they are less helpful for counterterrorism because so little is known about what patterns indicate terrorist activity.” THIS IS JUNK SCIENCE

  • Political Think Tank Analysis: In a 2010 report on SARs, Political Research Associates said that Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative “Invites Racial Profiling, Erodes Civil Liberties, and Undermines Security.”

  • It Uses Vague and Meaningless Language: SO1 and iWATCH use extremely vague and meaningless standards like “reasonable indication” and “observed behavior” to initiate a SAR. A watered-down version of a watered-down version of our Fourth     Amendment protections is a threat to our rights, liberties, and privacy.

Through Public Records Act, the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition has found, close to 5,000 SARs have been filed by LAPD between March 2008 and April 2012. LAPD has chosen to characterize common activities as potentially suspicious, and to use completely vague and unprecedented language that opens the door for policing based on speculation and hunches—in other words, based on prejudices. “5,000” becomes the number of false positives, of lives potentially ruined by the SAR program.

  • The Human Relations Commission works with the city and the mayor and says     that its mission is to improve the lives of the most marginalized and underrepresented Angelenos by discovering new ways to overcome problem…      

WE HAVE BEEN COMING TO THIS COMMISSION SINCE APRIL.  IT IS TIME TO TAKE ACTION NOW!  WE DEMAND PUBLIC HEARINGS ON SARs.