Vehicle seizures likely to resume

first_imgThe commission is expected to consider the moratorium Sept. 18. The practice of towing vehicles has been decried by immigrants-rights groups that say it unfairly targets those here illegally, because they cannot obtain licenses. But the LAPD officers union said as long as the practice of confiscating cars is legal, the moratorium should be immediately lifted. “We question why the department is dragging its feet on this,” said Tim Sands, president of the Police Protective League. “Allowing these drivers to keep driving their cars is akin to allowing unlicensed gun owners to keep their guns. The only difference is that cars kill more people than guns do.” The union says a significant number of hit-and-run suspects are unlicensed drivers. The LAPD annually impounds about 40,000 cars driven by unlicensed drivers. The practice generates roughly $14 million in revenue for the city of Los Angeles and costs offenders about $1,200 each to retrieve their cars. LAPD officers could soon be impounding the vehicles of unlicensed drivers again after the City Attorney’s Office found the practice to be constitutional, police Chief William Bratton said Friday. The Los Angeles Police Department temporarily stopped the practice last week after the City Attorney’s Office said it might be unconstitutional. But after a review of the initial findings, based on a 2005 federal appeals court decision, the City Attorney’s Office found that in most cases the practice was legal. “It would appear that we are OK to go back to what we were doing before, with some specific exceptions,” Bratton said. Citing attorney-client privilege, neither Bratton nor the City Attorney’s Office would detail under what circumstances the LAPD will be prohibited from towing vehicles. Still, Bratton said he will not lift the moratorium until the civilian Police Commission – which sets policy for the department – has reviewed the city attorney’s and the department’s own recommendations. [email protected] (818) 713-3741160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more