The LAPD’s biggest conundrum: How to suppress crime without alienating South L.A.’s black residents

On a chilly night in South Los Angeles, a young black man stood on the sidewalk watching police officers rummage through his car. Their reason for stopping him: the tinted front windows on his Nissan Maxima. Because he was on probation, the officers could legally conduct a search. It was the first of four times that Rio Cater would be stopped by police that night. When an officer praised his cooperative attitude, Cater, 28, replied that he was trying to avoid being ha— … “Don’t say the … [Read more...]

LAPD Leads Nation in Fatal Shootings—Again

This is the second straight year that Los Angeles has outpaced all other cities in the country for the number of officer-involved killings. As of Dec. 16 of this year, Los Angeles Police Department officers have killed 19 civilians, according to data compiled by the Guardian. Phoenix is second on the list with 14 civilians killed by police officers so far this year; Chicago and Houston have 11 each and San Antonio has 10. Last year, L.A. topped the list with 19. Its dubious first-place … [Read more...]

Black Lives Matter: Good at Raising Awareness — But That Won’t Reduce Police Killings

South Los Angeles this weekend, protests erupted over the LAPD killing of a black man long before there was enough information to say why, exactly, the officer had used lethal force or if he was justified in doing so. About two weeks earlier, the police killing of a black man in Charlotte, N.C., also triggered protests — again before all the relevant details were public. Both of the men who died were armed. It’s not hard to understand why some protesters act before all the facts are in. They … [Read more...]

When Police Body Cameras Aren’t the Answer

  Earlier this month, a too familiar tragedy unfolded in East Los Angeles when Los Angeles police officers shot and killed 14-year-old Jesse Romero. Witness accounts vary — the police department says Romero fled when officers approached him on suspicion of scrawling graffiti in his neighborhood, then fired at officers. Some civilians say he had a gun but tossed it away. As is increasingly common, the incident was captured on officers’ body cameras. Los Angeles officials have … [Read more...]

Policing and Democracy Breakdown

The growing problem of police violence and public mistrust in law enforcement isn’t a breakdown of policing but of democracy. The secrecy and immunity that shield police officers from scrutiny and liability are products of democratic policymaking. They haven’t been imposed extra-legally; they were enacted through state legislatures and embedded in state law. It is state law that sets the terms of transparency and accountability, mandating what information the public may have about police … [Read more...]

Take Action: Help Block LAPD’s Phony Body Cam Program

Justice Not Jails strongly opposes the City of LA's $57 million/five-year funding proposal to supply all officers on patrol with body cams. This super-expensive program—a giveaway of precious tax dollars to Taser International—will advance neither transparency or accountability within the LAPD and may actually suppress both. Reason: There will still be no public access to the video without the police chief's express permission, and cops involved in questionable conduct will be allowed to view … [Read more...]

LAPD & Community: Overcoming Mistrust

Moderator: Sandy Banks, former LA Times columnist Panelists: Holly Mitchell, California State Senator, District 30 Kim McGill, Organizer, Youth Justice Coalition Kathleen Kim, Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners Arif Alikhan, Director, LAPD Office of Constitutional Policing and Policy SATURDAY, APRIL 2, 2016 LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL, MERRIFIELD HALL 919 ALBANY STREET (AT OLYMPIC BLVD) 9:30 am registration & refreshments – Program 10:00 - noon Limited seating, … [Read more...]

‘Maybe We’ll Become an Example for America’

Now in his seventh year in office, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck has both built and expanded on the reforms initiated by his predecessor and mentor William J. Bratton, who was LAPD chief from 2002-2009. In the process Beck has become something of a rising star in the reformist wing of American policing—in large part due to his innovative community policing work. Last October he went to the White House with 130 other top law enforcement leaders to meet with President Barack … [Read more...]

ACLU to Justice Department: Don’t Give LAPD Money for Body Cameras

Citing "deep reservations" with the LAPD's body camera policy, the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union urged federal officials on Thursday not to give the department money to buy more of the devices. The ACLU's 11-page letter sent to Washington, D.C., on Thursday morning was the latest in which the organization has voiced its concerns about how the Los Angeles Police Department cameras — and their footage — will be used. A key issue: The LAPD has said it doesn't intend to make … [Read more...]

LA’s Top Cops Show Their True Colors: Not Pretty

“It should be clear to everyone that the LAPD and the criminal justice system will hold officers accountable for their actions when they operate outside the law​.​”—LAPD's Charlie Beck, commenting on the sentencing of former officer Mary O'Callaghan ’ve never bought into the notion that the while rest of the ​nation still has to suffer with abusive police practices and ​with recalcitrant, uninspired police leaders, sunny Los Angeles has been singularly blessed by enlightened law enforcement … [Read more...]