Press Release
April 6, 2000


HLP/IED today condemned rampant violations of human rights by the LAPD, especially the rights of people of color and immigrants. In a report submitted to the 56th Session of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, the L.A.-based organization attested to the way in which the "war on gangs" had effectively become a war on Latinos.

The report concentrated on the revelations coming out of the Rampart CRASH unit investigation, revelations that confirmed a "consistent pattern of gross violations of human rights," including "unjustified shootings, beatings, torture, drug dealing, evidence planting, false arrests, witness intimidation, and perjury."

"The LAPD wants us to see this as an isolated incident, as a case of a 'few bad apples,'" stated Lydia Brazon, IED/HLP Executive Director, in Los Angeles. "What the investigation is proving, and what the Latino community has known all along, is that it's not just a few bad apples, that abuses like those of Rampart CRASH are the rule for these anti-gang units."

The report also detailed the "illegal collusion" between the LAPD and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. According to the report, CRASH often forced the INS to deport immigrants who "had complained about police abuse, were witnesses in cases against police, or just because they were inconvenient." Again, Brazon: "Special Order 40 was created to promote trust between the immigrant community and the LAPD, so that immigrants could go to police for help without fear of deportation. The collusion between CRASH and the INS has shattered this trust, in addition to violating Special Order 40 and the civil and human rights of these immigrants."

Finally, the report addressed the case of Alex Sanchez, a Salvadoran immigrant whom CRASH is trying to deport for his work with the gang peace organization, Homies Unidos. Adam Branch, the author of the report, stated, "Homies Unidos, although it doesn't describe itself as one, is truly a human rights organization, standing up for the rights of ex-gang members and other members of the community. The harassment of this organization by the LAPD amounts to attacking human rights defenders, a practice we are more than willing to condemn in foreign countries, but which we are reluctant to recognize even exists here in the United States."