Los Angeles Times

Redondo Beach police are accused of racial profiling

Latina says she was singled out and arrested for having a dog on the pier.

- By Nathan Solis

A Latina woman says she was racially profiled and violently arrested by Redondo Beach police for having her service dog with her on the pier, even though other people with animals were left alone.

Luz Maria Flores shared a video from her encounter with police and said officers approached her and her sister while they were eating.

In the video, officers tell Flores she is not allowed to have a dog on the pier. She tells officers her dog, Yare, is a service animal, but she does not have the animal’s paperwork with her.

The officers asked for her identifica­tion and then told her she was going to be detained, Flores said in an Instagram post. She then began recording the encounter on her phone.

“I didn’t know how to react when the officer told me that my dog wasn’t allowed on the pier. I don’t think he liked my first response,” Flores, 30, told The Times. “They didn’t give me any time to respond.”

The video, taken about 7:30 p.m. July 29, starts with Flores asking why she’s being detained. An unidentifi­ed officer says, “For having a dog on the pier.” The city’s municipal code does not allow dogs on the Redondo Beach Pier.

Flores points out there are other people on the pier with dogs and says the police were questionin­g her because she is a Latino. While police are talking to Flores, another leashed dog can be seen in the background.

Four officers surround her as she records the video, her voice growing more fraught as the officers keep telling her that she could be arrested.

Throughout the threeminut­e video, Flores tells officers she is trying to leave, but they repeatedly inform her she’s being detained. Flores can be seen holding the leash of Yare, a black Mexican hairless dog known as a Xoloitzcui­ntle.

Redondo Beach police confirmed Wednesday that Flores was arrested on suspicion of having a dog on the pier and obstructin­g an officer. Jail records show her bail was set at $10,000, and she was released Saturday morning.

Her sister, Nancy Flores, 25, was also arrested on suspicion of obstructio­n, jail records show.

Luz Maria Flores, who graduated from UCLA and is planning to attend law school, according to her Instagram account, said on social media that her dog was released to her a few hours later.

Flores said she has not been able to watch the video she posted Tuesday because she’s “not ready to relive the experience yet.”

“But I am okay,” she said online. “I meditated on my law school journey as I was sitting in my jail cell. They will not break my spirit. My journey is clear to me now more so than ever. I look forward to being a civil rights attorney in a few years so I can file a class-action lawsuit.

“I’m not forgiving nor forgetting,” she continued. “They just birthed a rival and will have to answer for their prejudice, and injustice towards black and brown people.”

Redondo Beach police declined to comment on the incident.

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