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Local News in Brief : 3 Officials Decry Police Dept. Racism

A trio of elected Santa Monica officials have accused the city of dragging its feet in ridding the Police Department of racism and discrimination against black officers.

The officials, all commissioners on the city’s Rent Control Board, said several problems--such as the use of ethnic slurs and failure to promote minorities--continue inside the department despite pledges by city officials to correct them.

The allegations surfaced last year and are the subject of a lawsuit filed by six Santa Monica police officers against the city. City officials have appointed an in-house ombudsman and held “cultural awareness” training sessions for police.

But the board members, who are apparently seeking to thrust the racism issue into next month’s City Council elections, said those measures were not enough.

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“This city can’t call itself progressive while racism festers in its own back yard,” Rent Control Board Chairwoman Susan Packer Davis said.


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