This weekend's drunk-driver crackdown in the city of Los Angeles is focused solely on communities that are predominantly minority.
That doesn't necessarily mean cops are biased.
The Los Angeles Police Department says it focuses its DUI enforcement efforts on areas that have the worst drunk-driving problems. We'll be the first to admit that our people enjoy a cold cerveza and a ride in the old pickup truck all too often.
“The DUI checkpoints bring a laser focus to communities where DUI traffic collisions are occurring that are preventable through education and enforcement,” the department said in a statement.
But you have to wonder, then, if wide swaths of the Westside, which rarely see DUI checkpoints, just don't have the drinking problems minority areas of L.A. do.
And you have to wonder if the consistent police attention feeds the DUI statistics for communities where people of color live.
A report by the Back on the Road California (BOTRCA) consortium, “Stopped, Fined, Arrested — Racial Bias in Policing and Traffic Courts in California,” found that “driver’s license suspension rates range as high as five times the state average” in the state's black and Latino communities.
In any case, at least you're being warned before officers take your car and lock you up. And if they do, you'll ultimately have no one to blame but yourself.
Here's the weekend's info, according to the LAPD and sheriff's officials:
-Tonight from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., a DUI checkpoint will be happening on Sepulveda Boulevard and Parthenia Street in majority-Latino North Hills.
-Tonight from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., a Los Angeles Sheriff's Department checkpoint will be running at an undisclosed location in the city of Lancaster, the LASD says. (This is outside the city of L.A., which is the focus of our story.)
-Saturday from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., a checkpoint will be awaiting your arrival at Florence Avenue and Main Street in black-and-brown South L.A.
-Sunday from noon to 8 p.m., extra police will hit the streets of LAPD's 77th Street Division area of South L.A. The department calls this a “saturation patrol.”
Don't feed the statistics. Don't give police a reason to arrest you.