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Class action lawsuit is filed

The Beverly Hills Police Department is under fire for its alleged practice of racial profiling stemming from an incident in September when a Black couple visiting from Philadelphia was stopped and detained after riding e-scooters in the area. 

Attorneys Benjamin Crump and Bradley C. Gage held a news conference this week to provide new details about a class-action lawsuit against the City of Beverly Hills. Crump said Jasmine Williams and Khalil White alleged they were wrongfully arrested during the “Operation Safe Street” program. The program is also known as the “Rodeo Drive Task Force.”

Beverly Hills PD Capt. Scott Dowling introduced the program in an effort to make the city safer following a spike in crime in the area. As Crump put it, victims were “arrested for being Black in Beverly Hills.”

Attorneys say that 89 percent of those arrested by the Rodeo Drive Task Force were Black and that the arrests were not justified, adding allegations that  98 percent of those stopped were Black. 

It remains unknown exactly how many were stopped and detained while driving, walking or shopping while Black in the affluent community, Crump said. 

An earlier report states the couple was “protesting the unlawful detention and citing the continuous racial targeting of individuals of color” when they allegedly were handcuffed and arrested on “multiple fabricated charges.” The couple then spent the night in jail.

Crump has called on Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta to open an investigation.

“You need to take action. There needs to be an investigation to continue to bring Black citizens forward,” Crump said.

Following the lawsuit filed in September, more victims came forward detailing their experiences in Beverly Hills.

Two of those victims joined Crump and Gage to share how they were allegedly discriminated against while in the area.

Lakisha Swift was visibly distraught recalling what she says happened to her.

Swift says she was driving down Wilshire Boulevard on her way to the beach where she was followed by officers and was stopped at a red light for being three inches over the limit line. She said she was handcuffed and detained for 20 minutes, which was a traumatizing experience.

“Can you imagine a White woman being put in handcuffs because she was three inches past the limit line at a stoplight?” Crump asked.

Joseph Nett said he was a passenger in his girlfriend’s car when he was “handcuffed and humiliated for no reason.” Nett spent three days in jail, even though he was never charged with a crime.

Officials with Beverly Hills PD told FOX 11 Nett was detained because he was in violation of a restraining order and he was released because his accuser did not press charges. 

“We’re not a society who should take it. This is California, this is a liberal state. If it’s happening here, imagine what’s happening at other states across the U.S.,” said Gage with Goldberg & Gage based in Woodland Hills. 

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