The University of Southern California calls its security guards the Department of Public Safety. It seems to be not so widely known that, with the explicit consent of the City of Los Angeles, USC security operates on public streets in a huge area surrounding the campus. And as you might expect from a troublesome and troubled institution such as USC their policing is both troublesome and troubled. It’s demonstrably racist and demonstrably outside the bounds of what the law allows them to do as security guards. The problem has been covered for years now by the incomparable Sahra Sulaiman of Streetsblog Los Angeles. See e.g.:
And if you still don’t believe that USC DPS is out of control, watch this video of Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson responding to a constituent concerned about their racist policing by revealing his own personal experiences with their racial profiling. There is, of course, a transcription after the break.1
And this revelation raises a really serious question. If even Marqueece Harris-Dawson gets treated like an “undesirable” by USC DPS, why hasn’t the City of Los Angeles done something to stop them? Why hasn’t Marqueece Harris-Dawson done something to stop them? The logistics wouldn’t be hard. What’s hard is finding political support for a solution.
The City of Los Angeles is deeply invested in the racist policies of its own police force, so how are they going to expend political capital shutting down the racist policies of their little partners at USC? USC DPS is furthering the goals of the City of Los Angeles as implemented by LAPD.
And whether out of deference to his colleague at CD9, Curren Price, in whose district USC situates, or out of respect for the wants and needs of the zillionaires who eventually come to control every council office, Harris-Dawson has made his choice to do nothing. It may not be possible to explain, but it’s so commonplace a situation in LA politics that it doesn’t really need explanation.
Continue reading The USC Department Of Public Safety Is Well-Known For Its Racist Policing Practices — Wanna Know How Well-Known? — So Well-Known That Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson Admits That They Racially Profile People — Wanna Know How Marqueece Harris-Dawson Knows The USC DPS Racially Profiles People? — Because They Freaking Racially Profile Him! — Regularly! — He Says So On Freaking Video! — Why Is This Not Enough To Get The City To Fix This Damn Problem?