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Chief Michel Moore: Inequities in policing are a reflection of a racially biased society

Chief Michel Moore, standing in a line of LAPD officers, speaks to protesters
LAPD Chief Michel Moore speaks with protesters in Los Angeles after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Thank you for your editorials advocating for police reform instead of defunding. Today’s Los Angeles Police Department is the most reformed, and perhaps the most reform-minded, large police department in the nation. Our nation yearns for policing that reflects our shared values of racial equity and fair, effective enforcement of the law.

Racial and gender disparities abound within the criminal justice system and beyond. Males of color make up an unsettling majority of those stopped, arrested and convicted of violent crimes in major cities all over America. They are also the majority of violent crime victims and are far more likely to be subjected to police use of force.

Why do these inequities persist despite considerable effort to reform the police?

Policing does not exist in a vacuum. It is a reflection of a country rife with racial disparity, which must be addressed in employment, healthcare, housing, education and beyond. Lasting, meaningful change requires all of society to evolve, not just one component of it.

The police are a mirror that reflects the inequities of all our systems, and at times we are horrified by what we see. Let’s not confuse breaking the mirror for fixing that awful reflection.

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Michel R. Moore, Los Angeles

The writer is chief of the Los Angeles Police Department.


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