Cited for Being in Plain Sight: How California Polices Being Black, Brown, and Unhoused in Public

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Our newest report reveals deep racial disparities in enforcement for non-traffic infractions, the most low-level violations in both state and local municipal codes, punishable by a fine. They do not include harms to people or property, but instead criminalize everyday behaviors such as standing, sleeping, owning a dog, and crossing the street.Though the citations are criminal, there is no right to an attorney, and therefore little recourse for people who are targeted for enforcement because of their race. The result is hundreds of dollars in fines and fees people cannot afford to pay, and, in some counties, warrants and arrests for people who do not either pay or appear in court. This ongoing form of police harassment of Black and Latinx communities, people experiencing homelessness, and people with disabilities can cause trauma, and enforcement of minor infractions has led to police violence.

Read our report and explore our interactive map of infraction hotspots in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Long Beach.

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