LA Police Commission: De-Escalate, Stop The Killing

Above Photo: L.A. cops should do all that they can to preserve and not take life. Pretty please. With sugar on top. Reuters

Members of Los Angeles’ Police Commission have called for “significant” changes regarding the use of deadly force by the city’s cops. According to a new report, they want to make sure that Los Angeles Police Department officers did all they could in the past to de-escalate tense situations, and they want to urge the city’s cops to do all that they can in the future to de-escalate before they have to use significant force. Yes, that sounds like common sense. No, evidently it is not as common as one would think. Nevertheless, commissioners have offered a set of specific proposals and language:

If approved, the proposals could have a far-reaching impact on how the five-member Police Commission determines whether officers involved in fatal encounters were justified in using deadly force. By including specific language about so-called de-escalation strategies in department policy, the police chief and commissioners would have to consider whether officers could have tried to avoid using deadly force.

The recommendations build on de-escalation training that was rolled out department-wide in recent months amid a heated national conversation about how and when officers use force, particularly against African Americans.

The LAPD’s current force policy says officers should be guided by a “reverence for human life,” but Commission President Matt Johnson said the recommendations go further by articulating the importance of trying to avoid using force.

“That can’t just be words on a page,” said Johnson, one of two commissioners who crafted the proposals, which were included in a report released Friday. “The importance of de-escalation needs to be emphasized throughout every facet of the organization.”

Melina Abdullah, an organizer with Black Lives Matter-L.A., said  “the willingness of the commission to even speak to this is was a result of the organizing of [Black Lives Matter-LA] and their allied organizations. The groups have been going to the police commissions meetings every week, with some members being ejected and arrested.” She also said the report doesn’t go far enough.

This is not what we’re looking for. We need transformative change not just reform to a fundamentally oppressive system. Remember, this is the same police that ruled just a couple of weeks ago the murder of Brother Africa [Charly Leundeu Keunang] as being okay.”

The police commission’s report can be found here.

Naturally, as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, the LAPD’s cop union is not happy:

But the president of the union representing rank-and-file officers blasted the proposal, saying it would put officers at greater risk of unfair scrutiny of shootings, even if they were justified in pulling the trigger. President Craig Lally said officers try to avoid firing their guns, but that isn’t always possible during a rapidly unfolding, dangerous situation.

Yeah well, we know that’s a lie.

At any rate, count Los Angeles as being among the cities pushing to make their police officers do what they are supposed to do.