Scott Dowling, the Beverly Hills Police Department captain, is being sued by esteemed civil rights attorney Ben Crump. Crump, who represented clients in the cases of Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the Flint water crisis, will represent two protestors who have filed a class-action lawsuit against Dowling and the Beverly Hills Police Department. The lawsuit alleged that 106 people of color were wrongfully arrested due to racial profiling during protests against the actions of the police.
The two protestors, Jasmine Williams and Khalil White, cited a lengthy law enforcement campaign that lasted months known as “Operation Safe Street,” which resulted in the arrests of 105 African-Americans and one Latino. “We want to bring awareness to the world that this kind of behavior is not acceptable and not tolerated by having more of a national stage,” said Attorney Bradley Gage, who will also represent the case.
Scott Dowling was in charge of the Rodeo Drive Task Force during “Operation Safe Street” from March 2020 to July 2021, the area where the two class-action filers claimed they were arrested. The lawsuit stated that Captain Scott Dowling had a history of racist remarks before the arrests and that he once referred to Black people as “stupid and lazy.”
According to the suit, Captain Scott Dowling directed officers “to seize, interrogate, use force, falsely arrest, and maliciously prosecute any African-Americans who traveled on Rodeo Drive,” in order to “keep out African-Americans, who were deemed as ‘criminals.'”
Dowling later told The Daily Mail that he, “denied any wrongdoing, and said all of the allegations against him were ‘grossly inaccurate and lack merit.’” He is reported to have also made antisemitic remarks and racist remarks about Asians.
Arrested on September 7, 2020, Williams and White alleged that they, along with the other hundred people mentioned in the suit, were arrested on “multiple fabricated charges” for “protesting the unlawful detention and citing the continuous racial targeting of individuals of color.”
Following the arrests, prosecutors did not follow through will charging them of any crimes.
Beverly Hills Assistant Police Chief Marc Coopwood had already resigned on Tuesday, but it was reported that it was due to a move into the private sector. His work helping, “to lead the City through civil unrest and political & social justice protests that spanned an unprecedented 32 consecutive weeks,” was even celebrated in the announcement of his resignation.
In a written statement, Attorney Ben Crump detailed a “lengthy and documented history of racial profiling and targeting Black and brown people,” which he says goes all the way back to 1995 when six Black teenagers filed a lawsuit claiming wrongful arrest.
Former Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli, another Beverly Hills officer who was recently part of a separate lawsuit, reportedly promoted any subordinate who was willing to have sex with her.
In response to the lawsuit, Beverly Hills Police Chief Dominick Rivetti said that the two class-action filers were told that day that riding a scooter on the sidewalk was prohibited in Beverly Hills. He also claimed that they provided officers with false information.
Beverly Hills Chief Rivetti said that during the time the task force was in action, officers on Rodeo Drive recovered 13 loaded firearms, over $250,000 dollars, and fraudulent unemployment benefit cards worth an estimated $3 million.
“It is not okay to arrest Black people for being Black on Rodeo Drive,” Attorney Ben Crump reiterated to TMZ. “Unchecked implicit bias, unchecked racism leads to death for Black people.”