On the evening of Friday, August 30th, Centro CSO, the Southern California Immigration Coalition (SCIC) along with residents and their supporters met on the corner of Whittier Blvd. and Atlantic Blvd. in the heart of East Los Angeles to protest the racist police checkpoints.
Organizers of the protest have repeatedly pointed out that law-enforcement agencies have used so-called sobriety checkpoints as a pretext to target, intimidate, and harass the Chicana/o-Mexicana/o community of East Los Angeles and South Los Angeles.
Undocumented (im)migrants who are caught in these checkpoints with no drivers licenses are easy prey for car confiscations and impounds.
Car confiscations generate high revenue in fees and taxes to local cities and the Official Police Garage Association, and their owners who donate substantial sums of money for the campaigns of local politicians, such as Sheriff Lee Baca.
The Los Anegeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) hold regular license and sobriety checkpoints in working-class communities.
Early this year, the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council (BHNC), for instance, passed a resolution calling on the LAPD to stop car impounds in Boyle Heights (see www.bhnc.net for past meeting minutes).
Protestors in East Los Angles waved posters warning local residents about the police check point, while handing out Know Your Rights flyers.