The Culver City Police Officer’s Association would like to comment about the recent article written by Annette Morasch that leveled accusations that Culver City Police Department (CCPD) is a racist organization. The basis for this conclusion was gleaned from Morasch’s public records request which initially cast a wide net to obtain a large amount of raw data. As with any large amount of raw data, numerous conclusions can be drawn from the overall statistics to quickly paint a picture that the any author wants to convey. In Morash’s article, she attempted to paint a picture that CCPD is a racist organization. She was very convincing, but that is not unexpected because she is an attorney and knows how to craft a compelling argument.
The joint public statement released by Acting Chief Cid and CC Attorney’s office provided context and a more detailed look at the data that was provided to Morash. I would like to draw your attention to how Morash drew a conclusion, based on the raw statistical information, that our organization is obviously targeting children of color and therefor racist. In the public response released by Culver City, you will see that the arrest stats she uses to make her case are a combination of overall arrests from two full years. Moreover, during that 2-year period 75% of those arrests were the result of radio calls, not observations or self-initiated activities involving racial profiling as the article suggested. Our officers are duty bound to respond to calls for service after an alleged crime had been committed. Morash would like convey the idea that these arrests are the result of self-initiated activity by CCPD officers and therefore prove that we are targeting people of color. I repeat, 75% of theses arrests were a result of a radio call after a crime had occurred.
Approximately 25% of these arrests were in response to calls for service for crimes such as robbery, carjacking, residential burglary and assault with a deadly weapon. I am sure most citizens would agree those types of calls demand our utmost attention, regardless of the ethnicity of the suspects. 50 % of the overall arrests were for petty theft and were not in-custody arrests (meaning that an individual was not physically taken to the station and booked), they were issued a citation in the field. Due to the fact that petty theft is a misdemeanor, these citations are thus counted as an arrest even though the majority of those individuals were never brought to, or booked in at CCPD. When we receive a petty theft call after an individual has been detained by loss prevention officers, we are obligated to respond to the radio call for service, accept the arrest, issue a citation, and complete the necessary paperwork. We do not complete arrest report in those cases, we are not called upon to appear in court on those cases, we merely complete paperwork that is required of us by law. Completing this process allows the loss prevention agents and the accused to have their day in court. This is what is referred to as a private-persons arrest. These citations account for 50% of the arrest statistics Morash used to paint us with a broad brush and label us a racist organization even though they were generated by calls for service.
Morash painted the picture she wanted to present because she is a staunch supporter of the de-fund the police movement. Her motives were made clear when she leveled that same baseless accusations against our department during the Culver City Council meeting on June 22nd. When she spoke, she urged the city council to adopt the recommendations of the Culver City Action Network (CCAN https://culvercityaction.com/) and reduce the police budget by 50% within the next 90 days. CCAN’s demand letter referred to the city of Seattle as a model about how to reduce police services in Culver City. We all know what a disaster the “Seattle” experiment has been. Morash knows in order to garner support for the defund the police movement, she must ultimately paint our organization with the broad brush of racism. She is attempting to argue her point in the court of public opinion using incomplete and out of context statistical data which allows her to level wildly sensational accusations.
Our officers strongly condemn the treatment of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department. His loss of life was criminal and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Moreover, our officers recognize that communities of color have been underserved for many generations and we are constantly looking for ways to improve our relationships with all members of the public. We are constantly looking for way to build relationships with the community demonstrated by our participation in programs that include Safe Routes to School, Coffee with a Cop, National Night Out, The Culver City Police Citizen’s Academy, and the Culver City Police Juvenile Diversion Program to name a few. Our officers regularly attend state mandated training involving cultural diversity, implicit bias, and force de-escalation. In addition to our ongoing training, our organization spearheaded the proposal to have the city council fund in car cameras, as well as Body Worn Cameras, to improve transparency and to build trust within the community. CCPD has made great strides over the last two decades to become one of the most effective and professional police organizations in the country. Our department members come from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds and we pride ourselves on our cultural diversity and sense of inclusion. Our sworn personnel makeup is 39% White, 38% Hispanic, 10% Black, 6% Asian, 4% Pacific Islander, and 3% Middle Eastern. CCPD is far more diverse that the community we serve!
We remain committed to continuing to improve the service we provide the residents and visitors of Culver City. But painting a picture that places blame on CCPD for societal failures is woefully misdirected considering we do not write the laws we are called upon to enforce, and we do not fund the social service programs that are in place. Writing laws and funding social programs are the work of politicians, not a function of law enforcement. I hope the elected officials who are charged with those responsibilities (funding social programs and authoring laws) might actually do their job and not look to blame our profession for their repeated failures. Moreover, I hope they will not defund the police before they implement real solutions that actually bear fruit in the way of lower crime and increased safety for the community we serve.
The CCPOA Board.