Reject LAPD Surveillance
LA CITY COUNCIL GIVES $250,000 TO LAPD’S SURVEILLANCE PROGRAM TARGETING BLACK AND BROWN YOUTH
On March 9th, 2022, the Los Angeles city council voted 11-2 in favor of the Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) grant from the Department of Homeland Security to fund LAPD’s Providing Alternatives to Hinder Extremism (PATHE) program. They did so after receiving a letter signed by more than 40 national organizations, thousands of emails, hundreds of calls, and unanimous public comment opposed to this grant.
The program will be a vehicle for LAPD to racially profile youth of color with pseudoscientific “risk assessments” despite LAPD’s claims that this grant will help them fight white supremacy and “domestic terrorism”.
The LAPD will select and train 500 community members, including teachers, counselors, and clergy, to identify people – especially youth – deemed to be on a pathway to violence and open them up for more scrutiny from law enforcement, as Councilmember Bonin warned today. This will put a target on the back of youth for ordinary behaviors, which the LAPD will use as a proxy for race, religion, socioeconomic status, and disability. This will inevitably result in the criminalization of more youth by both LAPD and the Department of Homeland Security. Their names and information will be gathered in LAPD and federal databases, exacerbating pipelines for deportation and incarceration. This will sow distrust and inflict trauma in the very places youth go for care and counseling.
City Council, and especially Marqueece Harris-Dawson, are willing to experiment with a program that will gravely endanger Black, Muslim, indigenous, and immigrant youth. Harris-Dawson, after citing his own real targeted surveillance by the LAPD, is still willing to believe the LAPD’s word and wait to assess the harm after it happens, rather than safeguarding youth in our communities. In doing so, he is disregarding research and the testimonies of communities of LA that warn that PATHE will provide another vehicle for LAPD to racially profile youth and will inflict more trauma on mental health patients. It’s evident his commitment is not to the well-being of Black and Brown youth in his district, but rather to being a legitimizing mouth-piece for the LAPD.
The passage of this grant runs contrary to the wishes of the community at large. Educators, students and community members recognize the harm that our youth will endure as a result of LAPD’s PATHE program. The United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) and the California Faculty Association (CFA), as well as a variety of youth organizations including Black Lives Matter Youth Vanguard, Students Deserve, and the International Indigenous Youth Council all opposed this grant. UTLA wrote a letter to the Mayor of LA in 2018 opposing its predecessors, Countering Violent Extremism and Preventing Violent Extremism. We urge teachers, counselors, and clergy to refuse training under the PATHE program and organize to resist the expansion of PATHE and the endangerment of our youth.
Councilmembers Bonin and Raman’s votes were the only two that were in line with the demands of community members. We will organize to abolish LAPD’s PATHE program and achieve reparations for the people who are harmed by this program, and if the council members that voted no want to continue to abide by the wishes of Angelenos they will support us in that process. The other eleven council members voted for racial profiling of youth, opening up a new channel for police to inflict harm on the next generation of Angelenos. If they want to begin to undo the harm they enacted, they will support us in that process as well. Our demand remains the complete abolition of PATHE and rejection of TVTP funds.
Statement by Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Palestinian Youth Movement, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and Vigilant Love