The off-duty Los Angeles police officer who was arrested on Saturday night alongside a man suspected of possession of drugs and a firearm has accused the officers who detained him of racial profiling.
The officer accused members of a Los Angeles Police Department gang-fighting unit of confronting him because he is black and of having no legal justification to detain him, according to three sources from the department.
The detained officer did not respond to a request for comment. The Times does not name him because he was not arrested in the incident and has not been charged with a crime.
The allegation, which LAPD officials say they are investigating, further complicates the already baffling situation surrounding Saturday’s encounter in South Los Angeles.
Department officials have repeatedly declined to provide details about the incident, beyond saying that the officer and officers who arrested him are under internal investigation.
At one point Saturday evening, gang officers assigned to the LAPD’s 77th Street Division spotted two men standing next to a parked vehicle, said two sources within the department who were not authorized to discuss the incident. an ongoing investigation. When officers approached, one of the men threw a bag into the car, the sources said. Their suspicions aroused, gang officers began questioning the men, the sources said.
A subsequent search of the bag revealed narcotics and at least one unregistered firearm, sources said.
The sources said the officer identified himself as an off-duty member of the LAPD Southwest Division and denied knowledge of the drugs or the firearm.
Dquan Clarke, the man with the officer, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a concealed weapon and narcotics. Clarke is affiliated with an area gang, the sources said.
Investigators from the LAPD Internal Affairs Unit were called to the scene and the decision was ultimately made not to arrest the officer because there was no evidence linking him directly to the bag, the sources said.
As part of its investigation, the department will review footage of the encounter from cameras carried by gang officers.
An LAPD spokesperson confirmed on Monday that the detained officer and gang unit officers were being investigated by the department’s Internal Affairs Unit, but said it was limited in what she could say about an ongoing investigation. She did not say why the gang officers approached the men in the first place or which of the men threw the bag into the car.
Clarke, 28, of Los Angeles, was released from jail early Monday after posting bail. In January 2017, he was charged in Los Angeles County with grand theft, petty theft, attempted grand larceny and forgery in connection with an incident that occurred on December 6, 2016. He pleaded no contest to robbery in September 2017 and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years probation, according to court records.
Under LAPD policy, officers are prohibited from associating with known gang members or others engaged in criminal activity.
The Los Angeles Police Commission’s Office of Inspector General said it is aware of the incident and will monitor any resulting investigation.
Times writer Kevin Rector contributed to this report.
Los Angeles Times