L.A. County to compensate discrimination victims

21 Jul

Latimes

Stan Muhammad, far right, speaks during a press conference in July 2013 held by local civil rights groups including the Community Action League, National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People, and League of United Latino American Citizens, in response to the Justice Department finding that Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies in the Antelope Valley harassed and intimidated black, Latino and Section 8 residents. (Christina House/ For The Times)

U.S. Justice Department on Monday closed the books on a four-year investigation that found that Los Angeles County housing officials and sheriff’s deputies joined with two cities to drive black residents out of Antelope Valley.

The county Housing Authority agreed to pay $2 million to victims of alleged discrimination, and some families who lost their housing assistance will have the chance to get it back. This year, the Sheriff’s Department agreed to pay $700,000 and implement policies aimed at preventing racial bias.

The Justice Department launched an investigation in 2011 into allegations that minorities — particularly African Americans — living in federally subsidized housing in Lancaster and Palmdale were being harassed and discriminated against by sheriff’s deputies and county housing agency officials.

Prosecutors alleged in a lawsuit that the agencies had engaged in a “targeted campaign of discriminatory enforcement against African American [housing] voucher holders in order to discourage and exclude them and other African Americans from living in the cities.”

Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said the changes made as a result of the case will give more people the chance to live in neighborhoods of their choosing without fear of government harassment.http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-antelope-valley-settlement-20150720-story.html

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