LAPD sued over unlicensed driver policy

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A new policy from the Los Angeles Police Department that gives officers greater latitude in determining when to impound the vehicle of an unlicensed driver resulted in another lawsuit today, this time from a conservative watchdog group.

Judicial Watch wants to prevent the LAPD from using tax dollars to implement Special Order 7, which would allow the impound period for the vehicle of an unlicensed driver to be shortened from 30 days to one day. The policy would apply in circumstances where the driver has insurance, valid identification, has not caused a collision and has not been cited previously for unlicensed driving.

“This is yet another example of the Los Angeles Police Department’s unlawful use of taxpayer dollars to further Los Angeles’ status as a sanctuary city,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “Special Order 7 is illegal and dangerous. Unlicensed drivers – whether unlawfully present aliens or not – are a menace to public safety.”

The California Vehicle Code requires that police impound a car for 30 days if it is driven by someone without a license. However, the state attorney general’s office concluded earlier this month that the city’s impound policy is legal because local agencies may adapt their own standards.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents the rank and file members of LAPD, filed a lawsuit against the policy last month.

"The League believes that the new policy may subject LAPD officers to potential civil liability if they impound an unlicensed driver’s car under the new one-day policy, and that driver, within those next 30 days, goes on to cause a collision resulting in injury or death," said LAPPL President Tyler Izen.

A spokesman for the LAPD said the department does not comment on litigation.

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