WVC PD, Latino community leaders to discuss alleged racial profiling

Posted at 5:33 PM, May 15, 2013

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - Members of the Latino community are meeting with the West Valley City Police Dept. on Wednesday night to discuss accusations of racial profiling.

The complaint comes after Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill dismissed dozens of cases linked to the now-disbanded Neighborhood Narcotics Unit.

Latino activist Tony Yapias says his group Proyecto Latino de Utah and the Utah Coalition of La Raza believe the West Valley City Police Dept., particularly the narcotics unit, was targeting minorities, primarily Latinos. Yapias says the majority of the dismissed cases involved Latino suspects.

Wednesday's meeting, facilitated by the Department of Justice, will address questions they have about how the narcotics unit conducted its investigations and what can be done to fix the alleged profiling.

"I think the overall goal here for all of us is to bring the credibility back to the department. We want to be able to say hi to a cop, be friendly to them, without having that fear," Yapias said.

The afternoon meeting is expected to last four hours, and is closed to the public.