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Latino leaders question possible WVC PD racial profiling

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Posted at 6:40 PM, Mar 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-22 22:02:30-04

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - Local Latino leaders are asking the federal government to look into possible racial profiling at the West Valley City Police Dept.

The request comes after Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill dismissed 19 cases, saying there wasn't enough evidence to ensure a conviction.

Most of the dismissed cases are drug-related and 15 of 19 involve Latino defendants, and local Latino leaders say it looks like racial profiling.

"At the very least, this could be racial profiling," said Archie Archuleta. "Fifteen of 19. That is an inordinately high number of Latinos in this case roster."

"We're here not to say these people are innocent or guilty or are criminals or not. I think what we're here to do is look at whether their civil rights were violated," said Tony Yapias.

The cases are all handled, at least in part, by veteran West Valley City Police Det. Shaun Cowley, who is currently under investigation.

Now Yapias and Archuleta are asking federal officials, including the FBI, to look into the matter, since they're not confident that an internal investigation in the West Valley City Police Dept. would give them the answers they're looking for.

"I think what we have to do is ask authorities in federal government and other agencies to fully investigate. Everybody wants to know exactly what happened here," Yapias said.

The FBI said they're unable to comment about any possible investigations. The West Valley City Police Dept. had no comment about possible racial profiling.

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