Five of California’s largest law enforcement agencies have a serious problem with bias against women, people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ people. That’s according to a new report from California’s auditor. The study examined the LA Sheriff’s Department, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, plus police departments in San Jose, San Bernardino, and Stockton. It says those departments did little to investigate their officers’ biased conduct – or try to prevent future problems.
That bias can be reinforced or encouraged when officers are trained for the job. A Reuters investigation found that some police instructors have ties to far-right extremist groups, and they’re teaching hundreds of officers every year.
“One of the ways in which the extremist views that they hold seep into that training is by imparting this idea that law enforcement officers are under more threat than ever before. That they should be constantly hypervigilant for attacks and danger to themselves from others … that’s what experts call a warrior mentality. It’s something that they believe leads to increased police brutality,” says Reuter’s national affairs correspondent Julia Harte.