LA Times Staff Writers Cara Mia DiMassa and Richard Winton
Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department said they have observed police cars from at least four suburban departments drop off what appeared to be homeless people on the streets of downtown Los Angeles in the last year, their captain said Friday.
The claim comes a day after Capt. Andrew Smith, who commands the downtown division, said he and a partner saw two sheriff's deputies drop off a mentally ill man in skid row after he was released from the Central Jail. Officials from three of the departments - El Monte, El Segundo and Pasadena - all said they had no knowledge of their officers driving people to downtown as a way of getting them out of their communities.
Though acknowledging that "dumping" was a common practice years ago, the officials now say their departments have strict bans on the practice. Moreover, they offered to investigate if the LAPD provided dates and times. Officials from the fourth agency, the Burbank Police Department, declined repeated requests for comment.
As I said on my last post on this subject, for years this 'dumping' was a such a common practice that one police department appeared to be running a nightly shuttle service into Downtown LA. But recently, at least in my neighborhood, this has been far less observable. I have heard in the recent past from friends of mine who live east of me, though, that this practice still continues in the Central City East area but that the vehicles now being used are often of the 'unmarked' variety.