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ACLU: Glendale, L.A. police 'repeatedly threatened' Latino students during round-up

October 13, 2011
(File photo )

In announcing plans to file a civil rights lawsuit against Glendale Unified, the ACLU today alleged dozens of Latino students at Hoover High School were rounded up last year and interrogated as gang members for more than an hour.

Standing in front of the Pacific Community Center in South Glendale, ACLU officials claimed about 56 students -- all Latino or Latino in appearance -- were searched by Glendale and Los Angeles police officers during the round-up on Sept. 24, 2010.

[This story has been corrected, see below for the details.]

In earlier claims filed with the district, some students were allegedly partially disrobed and quizzed about tattoos, scars and possible gang affiliations.

The Glendale and Los Angeles police departments -- which work together on gang issues -- as well as the L.A. County Probation Department, will also be named in the lawsuit, according to the ACLU.

Before the announcement, Ashley Flores, 16, said the experience was terrifying.

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"I was shocked and scared when I saw the police, especially because I knew I hadn't done anything wrong," she said.

ACLU representatives said police officers "repeatedly threatened" the students and forced them to take fake mugshots.

"It is not illegal to be a Latino teenager," David Sapp, an ACLU attorney, said. "This is a textbook case of racial profiling."

Students said filing a lawsuit was a last resort after being repeatedly rebuffed by Glendale Unified officials for an explanation.

The ACLU said they were still trying to deterimine Glendale Unified exact role in the incident, but claimed district adminstrators were "intimately involved."

[FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this post incorrectly attributed claims made in a March complaint filed with the district to what was said at the press conference on Thursday, specifically, that students were made to stand against a wall with their hands in the air.]

-- Jason Wells and Megan O'Neil, Times Community News

Photo: The Hoover High School campus. Credit: File photo.

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