On Wednesday, famed civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump is set to join co-counsel Bradley C. Gage and Mark T. Harris in a news conference to announce a lawsuit filed against the city of Beverly Hills and Captain Scott Dowling of the Beverly Hills Police Department over what is known as “Operation Safe Streets” and “Rodeo Drive Task Force.”
The program, which Dowling was in charge of from March 1, 2020, to this past July 1, was purported to be a way to keep the crime down in the area, according to local radio station KFI 640. However, the suit claims it was really just another excuse by law enforcement to engage in large-scale racial profiling.
According to a press release sent to NewsOne, the lawsuit alleges that “based on information and belief, the task force arrested 106 people of whom 105 were African American and one was Latino.”
The news release also states that the BHPD has a “lengthy and documented history of racial profiling,” and that under Dowling’s leadership, Black people and people of color were routinely arrested without probable cause and for petty offenses like roller skating or riding a scooter on unauthorized streets and for jaywalking steps away from a crosswalk.
In fact, according to KFI, two Black people who were visiting Beverly Hills in September last year, Jasmine Williams and Khalil White, recently filed a class-action lawsuit against the city and the police department claiming they were wrongfully arrested while protesting “Operation Safe Streets” and “the unlawful detention and citing the continuous racial targeting of individuals of color,” according to the suit which also alleges that “while African-Americans as a class were arrested for such actions” like roller skating and jaywalking, “Caucasians who engaged in the same actions were not arrested.”
Perhaps even more egregious was the time when an executive at a high-end fashion international house accused the Beverly Hills Police Department of racially profiling him for jaywalking last year.
The low-level violation that Salehe Bembury, the vice president of Sneakers and Men’s Footwear for Versace, admitted to committing prompted police to demand his ID in an interaction for which bodycam video was later publicly released.
In that instance, Crump posted the bodycam video and asked, “Would they have treated a jogging white woman in Beverly Hills the same way?”