It seems that even Black police officers are not immune to racial profiling, according to The Los Angeles Times. The Times reports that Lamark Ferguson, a Black Los Angeles Police Department officer, has filed a lawsuit accusing the department of retaliating against him because he complained about being racially profiled.
According to the lawsuit, Ferguson was off duty and driving through South Los Angeles on his way to check on property he owned, when he was pulled over by a white officer. He explained to the officer that he was with the LAPD and expected to be shown the courtesy of being a fellow officer. Ferguson also gave the officer his department ID. However, the officer told him he needed to verify his employment, because gang members were known to impersonate LAPD officers.
The Times said Ferguson waited for 20 minutes, “much more time than was needed,” and then the officer let him go. But when he pulled into the driveway of his property, the officer pulled him over again and said he needed to confirm his identification. Ferguson gave the officer his ID, the station where he was assigned and the name of his supervising officer. According to The Times, while the officer was checking the information again, Ferguson called his supervisor at the Hollywood station and told him he was being harassed and racially profiled.
After the incident, the lawsuit states Ferguson filed a complaint against the officer, since his supervisor never followed up on his request. According to The Times, the department responded by reassigning Ferguson to another station and putting him on administrative duty. This is a common tactic used by the department to punish officers. The new station is often far from the officer’s home, so he has to spend hours in traffic. The LAPD also tried smear Ferguson’s reputation by accusing him of making false statements to internal affairs investigators.
The lawsuit denies the LAPD’s accusations and says the department retaliated against Ferguson because he was Black, said The Times.
This case shows how averse police departments are to criticism, even from within their own ranks. Even if Ferguson wins the case, it probably spells the end of his career with the LAPD, which began in 2010. The department will likely not react kindly to an officer who complained about their behavior, then proved it in court.