“The city believes it did not engage in unlawful or inappropriate activity,” Garcia said. “The city has been working in good faith with the ACLU to address its concerns. The city is surprised at the filing of a lawsuit before it had the opportunity to conclude those discussions with the ACLU.”
He added that city officials occasionally partner with Glendale Unified on education and intervention programs, “in order to educate [students] on the risks and negative impacts of becoming involved in criminal activities.”
L.A.P.D. spokesman Comdr. Andrew Smith said the department frequently works with other agencies, including Glendale police, to target gang activity.
Any allegation of racial profiling will be thoroughly investigated, Smith said, but added all officers know the practice is unacceptable.
“The idea that these kids were racially profiled — I would use the word preposterous,” Smith said. “Our guys don’t do that.”
Glendale Unified spokesman Steven Frasher said that the event was planned after several Hoover High School staff members expressed concern about possibly gang activity in one area of the campus.
The district will do everything in its power to keep students from walking down the wrong life path, he said, adding that the roundup resulted in an improved campus environment and student academic performance.
Several Hoover High School students interviewed on their way to class Friday had a different take. If school officials were concerned about student behavior, many said they could have held a meeting to discuss it.
Hoover senior Mirna Alvarado, 17, said she was among those targeted.
“They treated us like criminals,” she said. “They even checked our backpacks. They took my cell phone away too, and they actually read my text messages. The cops shouldn’t do that.”
Other students said Hoover High is a safe campus, and that they are not aware of any school-site gang activity.
“None of them were involved in gangs,” said junior Raciel Ramirez, 16. “I guess it is just because they hung out there, and the way they dressed. I think [the officials] went about it all wrong.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, as well as the destruction of all personal information and photos collected during the searches.