City, Glendale Unified begin settlement talks with ACLU

The ACLU of Southern California is in preliminary settlement negotiations with attorneys for Glendale and the school district regarding a lawsuit filed last year alleging racial profiling of Latino students at Hoover High School.

In October, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles alleging that dozens of Latino students were detained and searched during lunch on Sept. 24, 2010. The students claim they were intimidated and interrogated about any gang affiliations, and were ordered to stop hanging out with one another at lunch.

Glendale and Los Angeles police departments were named alongside Glendale Unified as defendants in the lawsuit.

Students allegedly targeted in the roundup were kept for about an hour in two separate classrooms, where they were frisked and questioned about possible gang ties by Glendale and Los Angeles police officers, according to the lawsuit.

Court records indicate that the Glendale parties are scheduled to participate in a mediated telephone conference on April 12. ACLU attorney David Sapp confirmed Tuesday that early negotiations are underway.

“We feel very good about the possibility of being able to resolve our claims against the two sets of defendants in Glendale,” Sapp said. “We still have some work to do to actually get there.”

He declined to comment further, emphasizing that any potential settlement likely remains in the distant future.

Representatives for the city and the school district refused to discuss the matter, saying that any talk of a resolution is premature.

“It is a process,” Glendale Unified spokesman Steve Frasher said. “We don’t comment on things that are incomplete.”

Frasher has described the allegations of racial profiling as “ridiculous.” The action was designed as a deterrent for some students who school officials were concerned were at risk for being sucked into the gang lifestyle, he said.

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages, as well as the deletion from school and police records of personal information collected during the event.

-- Megan O'Neil, Times Community News

Twitter: @megankoneil

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