WeHo may ask police to stop enforcing ‘low-level traffic stops’

While most West Hollywood residents say they want more law enforcement on their city streets, City Council may decide to go in a different direction.

On Monday evening, they will discuss whether to reduce or eliminate the enforcement of “low-level traffic stops” by sheriff’s deputies and other sworn authorities within the city limits, a yet-to-be-determined list of offenses that might include:

  • Driving with one headlight or having a broken brake light 
  • Having a registration plate that’s not clearly displayed, fastened, or visible
  • Driving without an inspection or emissions sticker
  • Bumper issues and minor obstructions (like something hanging from a rearview mirror)

The proposal was written by Mayor Pro Tem Sepi Shyne and Councilmember Lindsey Horvath specifically to combat excessive police profiling of racial minorities, particularly Black and Hispanic drivers.

A state-sponsored report from 2020 said the majority of individuals stopped by police were perceived to be Hispanic (40.4%), white (31.7%), or Black (16.5%).

From the report:

Officers searched, detained on the curb or in a patrol car, handcuffed, and removed from vehicles more individuals perceived as Black than individuals perceived as white, even though they stopped more than double the number of individuals perceived as white than individuals perceived as Black. And Black and Hispanic individuals were more likely to have force used against them compared to white individuals. 

According to 2020 U.S. Census data, 3.6% of WeHo’s population is Black — approximately 1,287 residents out of 35,757 total. Hispanics account for 10.3%, or 3,682 residents.

The staff report highlights Berkeley, Minneapolis and Philadelphia as cities that are “explor(ing) alternative models to traffic safety that do not rely on armed law enforcement” — seemingly the overall goal of the proposal. 

The policies present “risks in both directions,” Dennis Jay Kenney, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told CNN last fall when Philadelphia passed its law.

“The danger of not eliminating them is that it drives a wedge between the public and the police,” Kenney said. “If you’re tired of driving while Black, you’re less likely to cooperate during these stops.”

“(But) by saying these violations no longer matter, then to the extent that they impact public safety, then public safety will be negatively impacted,” he said.

Even if City Council moves forward with the proposal, it’s not clear whether WeHo could legally enact it.

The City Attorney will be tasked with working out the details, including the “allowable course of action” with the Sheriff’s Departments. Depending on “possible legal impediments,” WeHo’s law could go as far as banning the enforcement of low level traffic stops altogether — or end with a simple, largely ceremonial resolution declaring them a low priority.

Never before has the city attempted to ban the enforcement of any particular law; however, the city has in the past declared infractions such as medical marijuana possession and sex worker-relaetd offenses to be “low priority.”  

“The proposed change is meant to focus on non-moving violations that do not impact public safety,” the report reads. “Any new policy or ordinance would not impact the Sheriff’s Department’s ability to enforce moving violations and other traffic violations that are related to public safety, such as speeding, running red lights or stop signs, or driving under the influence.”

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giày đá banh chính hãng

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tân thanh container
8 months ago

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WehoFan
WehoFan
8 months ago

The weho city council is corrupt and incompetent. They should all resign.

TomSmart
TomSmart
8 months ago

Perhaps if someone deserved to be murdered there’s no reason to investigate that either eh? This city is slip slidin away

THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO LOOK AWAY FROM CRIME
THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO LOOK AWAY FROM CRIME
8 months ago

  We should oppose the proposed reduction in the enforcement of “low-level traffic stops” by sheriff’s deputies and other sworn authorities within the city.   The fact is that what’s illegal is illegal regardless of who commits it. I’ve been stopped by a cop because of a broken light and I’m ok with that. By not enforcing the law, West Hollywood is announcing in loudspeakers “Welcome to our City. It’s ok for you to break the law here by not displaying a license plate or by having a broken light. We won’t be able to track you down if you… Read more »

alex
alex
8 months ago

This request by WeHo City Council is based on Nationwide statistics – what are the numbers about traffic stops in WeHo. Personally, I feel safer seeing traffic stops and I do not mind being stopped myself.

Overall: I believe the majority of WeHo citizens do not want any reduction in law enforcement.
Thank You WeHoville for being on top of the stories that matter.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
8 months ago

The H&R Block tax preparer, here in WeHo, who did my taxes for several years stole my identity and, in my name committed several frauds. When this was discovered he made himself scarce and he couldn’t be found by the Sheriff’s Department. But one day he got stopped for a low-level traffic violation. When they ran a check on him they discovered that he was wanted for the crime against me as well as other people and he was cuffed right there on the street and taken in. His name is Michael G., he is in his mid-fifties, he is… Read more »

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
8 months ago

I don’t necessarily accept the premise that minorities are targeted by law enforcement. Law enforcement goes where the crimes are. DWB sounds like something Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton would invent and put out there knowing no one is going to question it, and it then becomes widely accepted as truth. Trained, experienced and intuitive law enforcement officers know that low-level traffic violations very often expose larger violations. Violent crimes are overwhelmingly committed by members of a racial minority. People who are careless about low-level traffic violations are possibly careless about higher level crimes.

Manny
Manny
8 months ago

My taxes pay for cops to enforce laws, not ignore them. Personally I welcome being stopped by a police officer for any violation that may indicate an unsafe condition to me or others, or for my negligence in not identifying or confirming the good standing of my vehicle or myself. BUT THESE COMMENTS MEAN NOTHING ON WEHOVILLE. Send your comments to the City Council on “Item 5A” to publiccomment@weho.org. DO IT BEFORE 2PM ON TUESDAY 1/18/2022.

voting
voting
8 months ago

This stupid/dangerous proposal will certainly be passed by the City Council with unethical Erickson as the third vote.

Why does the Horvath want to hobble the police and thereby endanger all citizens? I understand that Sepi Shyne has an extreme bias on this issue, but it’s nonetheless shocking to see her to try pull something like this.

Stevie
Stevie
8 months ago
Reply to  voting

Horvath (newest nickname should be horvath for her LA Times connection) was obviously persuaded by her newest Safety Commissioner appointee.

Geoffrey Buck
Geoffrey Buck
8 months ago

For this and many other reasons I now use Los Angeles as my address.

Christopher Roth
Christopher Roth
8 months ago

How about we become the ambassadors of proper police conduct. Let the officers pull over and site the citizen for their violation with courtesy. Dashboard and body cameras will ensure that the incident was professional leaving every violator knowing that in West Hollywood our police are not to be feared. Seems like if we go the route Mayor Pro Tem Sepi Shyne and Councilmember Lindsey Horvath want, drivers who fear police will continue to fear police. Their proposal does nothing to curb that. Ensuring that every driver pulled over is treated with respect, the fear of police could be changed… Read more »

R*E*S*P*E*C*T
R*E*S*P*E*C*T
8 months ago

Every driver pulled over should also be respectful.

Christopher Roth
Christopher Roth
8 months ago
Reply to  R*E*S*P*E*C*T

agreed

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