Louisiana cop charged with hate crimes for targeting Latinos in traffic stop thefts
A 25-year-old police officer in Independence, Louisiana was arrested and accused of using traffic stops to commit thefts, WWL-TV reported.
Laquinton Banks was charged with felony theft, hate crimes, and malfeasance in office after an investigation by state police. Banks had been working for the Independence Police Department for five months.
Banks has been on leave from the department without pay since Dec. 23, when the investigation began. According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, the probe began after a friend of one of Banks’ alleged victims filed a complaint.
“I wish that these victims had come forward earlier and directly to us,” Police Chief Frank Edwards said. “I don’t want to say we welcome complaints, but we welcome complaints.”
Authorities said in a statement that Banks stole $1,600 from “non-English speaking Hispanic males” over the course of four traffic stops.
The suspect is being held without bail. Edwards said that more victims may come forward, and that Banks will be fired.