Court upholds LAPD policy on immigration stops

An appeals court has upheld a controversial Los Angeles city policy that prohibits police from stopping people solely based on their suspected immigration status. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze reports.

The policy’s known as Special Order 40. Former LAPD Chief Daryl Gates instituted it 30 years ago to encourage undocumented immigrants to report street crimes without fear of being deported.

Three years ago, Washington D.C.-based Judicial Watch challenged the policy on behalf of L.A. resident Harold Sturgeon. The group claimed it restricts the LAPD’s ability to share information with federal authorities and to enforce the law. The group labeled Special Order 40 a “don’t ask, don’t tell policy” when it comes to immigration laws.

The California Court of Appeals disagreed. It joined a lower court in ruling Special Order 40 as constitutional. The ACLU said the decision strikes a balance between immigrant rights and police responsibilities. Officers can still stop and arrest undocumented immigrants if they suspect criminal wrongdoing.

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