BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA) – Prominent civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump has called for an investigation of the Beverly Hills Police Department following a traffic check in August 2020.
Crump represents Lakisha Swift and Joseph Nett, who believe they were racially profiled during a traffic stop last year. The couple claim they were pulled over for being three inches above the line while at a red light. Crump has asked the California Attorney General and the Department of Justice to investigate the incident.
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“Obviously it happened because we were black,” Nett said at a press conference. “If we were white, we probably would never have been arrested. “
Swift and Nett said they were then taken out of the car, handcuffed and detained. Nett ended up in jail for three days. No charges have been laid.
“I was then pulled out of the car and handcuffed for over 20 minutes,” Swift said. “And they never told me why.”
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The city issued a statement regarding the incident.
“Mr. Nett was a passenger in a vehicle stopped for a traffic violation,” the city said. “It was determined that Mr. Nett had violated a restraining order obtained by the driver. indicated that she did not wish to press charges, for her safety and in accordance with the law, Mr. Nett was taken into custody.
A class action lawsuit has also been filed against the police department for a special Rodeo Drive team. The lawsuit alleges agents from the team targeted African Americans. Of the 90 people arrested by the task force, 80 were black.
Police said they set up Operation Safe Street after residents complained about the rise in crime. Officials denied the racial profiling allegations and defended the task force, saying it discovered a massive wave of identity thieves descending on the high-end retail hub. Police said visitors from across the country used thousands of fraudulent Employment Development Department cards registered in other people’s names. Authorities said 66% of all arrests were suspected of identity theft and estimated $ 2.5 million was stolen from the state’s unemployment system.
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Crump has notably represented the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor in their civil rights cases.