Blacks, Latinos have been arrested at 'disproportionate rate' in L.A., report finds

A new analysis of Los Angeles Police Department data released this week by L.A. City Controller Kenneth Mejia shows that Latino and Black people were arrested at a "disproportionate rate" between 2019 to 2022.

Black people, who make up 8% of the county’s population, accounted for 27% of all arrests; and Latinos, who account for almost half (48%) of the Los Angeles County, made up 51% of all arrests.

Both demographics, when combined, make up 56% of the county's population and yet totaled more than two-thirds of all arrests at 78.26%, according to the report. White people, which make up 29% of the county, ranked third in the total number of arrests at 16%.

Henry Perez, the executive director of the nonprofit InnerCity Struggle, said the report is alarming but not surprising. Perez said the organization, which works to organize communities in L.A.'s Eastside neighborhoods to address violence and crime, has historically experienced overpolicing.

"Our community feels it on a daily basis," Perez said. "What we really need to call out is that the majority of the arrests are for infractions and misdemeanors. These are nonviolent and nondrug-related offenses" that can lead to "very precarious" situations, he said, noting aggressive outcomes especially against Black and Latino individuals.

The new analysis marks the first time the Los Angeles Police Department has made its arrest data available to the public without limitations. Detailed maps and locations show the department's nearly 300,000 arrests in the last four years.

Council District 14, led by embattled L.A. City Council Member Kevin de León, had the highest number of arrests almost very year — lost only in 2021, by three arrests, to Council District 8, which is led by the council's current President Pro Tempore Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

De León's district consists of predominantly Latino neighborhoods such as Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights and El Sereno, all of which comprise much of the Eastside, according to InnerCity Struggle's website.

"From our history, we know that more policing does not equate to safer schools or safer communities," Perez said. "We know that we get safer schools and safer communities when students and community residents are supported holistically."

NBC News reached out to the LAPD for comment but did not receive an immediate response.

LAPD recorded more arrests for misdemeanor and infraction offenses than for felonies in all four years.

At least 400 arrests were made yearly in the "dependent" category, which accounts for children taken into custody due to parent or guardian abuse, neglect, endangerment, or runaway children, according to the analysis.

"The data available is unclear about the nature of these interactions, but raises questions about the frequency that children and youth are coming into contact with the LAPD," the report stated.