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Image of Larry Sanders on a bike

CalGang Stirs Distrust in Community, Leap Argues

Jorja Leap, adjunct professor of social welfare, spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the secretive CalGang database. Fifteen individuals placed in the statewide database by the Los Angeles Police Department challenged the designation, and all of their names were removed. One was singer and anti-gang interventionist Larry Sanders, known for his work on Coolio’s hit “Gangsta’s Paradise,” who said he was shocked when informed he had been added to the database. The LAPD says it refers people to CalGang for legitimate reasons, and requests to be removed are rare. “There are very few stories of people getting off the CalGang database,” Leap said. “All of this creates a stew of distrust and people not trying and people not succeeding.”


 

Leap Weighs In on CalGang Reform Process

Adjunct Professor of Social Welfare Jorja Leap spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the current debate surrounding the Los Angeles Police Department’s use of CalGang, a secretive statewide database with information about suspected gang members, including their family members, nicknames and tattoos. Since only approved law enforcement has access to the database, it has been nearly impossible for those outside of law enforcement to gauge the integrity of the process or check the accuracy of its records. At least 20 LAPD officers are suspected of falsifying information used to identify gang members, putting additional pressure on the state Department of Justice to reform the system to prevent law enforcement from unfairly targeting people by race and economic status. Leap said the LAPD investigation “is the booster rocket to say this has got to be reformed and it’s got to be reformed not in a superficial way but in a meaningful way.”