On Monday (September 11), civil rights attorney Ben Crump announced the lawsuit on behalf of 1,088 Black motorists who were pulled over in Beverly Hills between August 2019 to August 2021, per the Associated Press. Only two of those drivers were convicted of crimes, Crump said.
During the two-year period, roughly a third of all arrests involved Black people, who only make up 1.5 percent of the city’s population, the attorney added.
“It wasn’t to deter crime. It was to send a message to Black people that we don’t want your kind around here,” Crump said during a press conference. “That is racial profiling 101!”
In a statement, the city of Beverly Hills denied the allegations.
“The statistics presented referencing the number of convictions is a mischaracterization of the evidence in this case. In addition, the 1,088 arrests referenced includes people cited and released, not just custodial arrests,” city officials said. “The City of Beverly Hills is an international destination that always welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world. The role of the Beverly Hills Police Department is to enforce the law, regardless of race.”
According to attorneys, Shepherd York was among the Black motorists who were pulled over but never convicted of a crime.
“I spent three days in jail,” York said at the press conference. “Humiliated, scared, sad.”