Policing Los Angeles: The Forces At Work And The Scope Of Their Energy

Policing Los Angeles: The Forces At Work And The Scope Of Their Power

Published on August 1, 2020

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The sight of an officer holding his knee George Floyd& # 39; s neck for more than eight minutes until he died Asphyxiation triggered nationwide protests that began in May, continued through June, and are still ongoing.

L.A. was one of the epicentres of the revived movement of the Black Lives Matter, With Every day Protests over the town, County and surrounding area.

It is not the first time that a black American has been killed by the police (see: Stephon Clark, Philando Castile, Freddie Gray) List continues).

But it is The first time that police reform talked about gradual steps widespread, mainstream Discussions about fundamental changes.

Instead of talking about restrictions on the use of violence, it was about ideas that were once considered unattainable – like Defuse police departmentsIncrease civilian oversight and end qualified immunity for officers.

The reform is not limited to the police and sheriff this time either.

Activists seeking dramatic changes in LA's prosecution, probation and prison systems see increased awareness and awareness of broader criminal justice issues and increased pressure on officials.

These are complicated questions and reforming the criminal justice system will not be easy. This guide breaks down some of the workers at work, explains how police work in LA, and provides you with the tools and facts you need to make your own informed decisions.

Police officers on bicycles drive past the Los Angeles Police Department's Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown LA (Andrew Cullen for LAist)


The first thing you should know: There is a lot to learn about the many, many law enforcement agencies operating in LA County.

There are LAPD and LASD, but also 45 smaller police stations.

Long Beach, Santa Monica, Inglewood and Pasadena are among the cities with their own police forces.

Cal State University schools have their own. UCLA too.

And then there are CHP, FBI, DEA and ATF.

The Federal Ministry of Justice has also stationed women and men with badges and weapons near LA.


1. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD)

• • Chef Michel Moore
• • 9,988 officers
• • 2,961 civil workers
• • Budget: approximately $ 3.1 billion (operating budget: $ 1.8 billion; $ 1.3 billion for pensions and other benefits)

The LAPD is responsible for overseeing the city of Los Angeles and most subways and buses.

2. The Los Angeles Sheriff Department (LASD)

• • Sheriff Alex Villanueva
• • 10,000+ MPs
• • Over 8,000 civil workers
• • Budget: About $ 3.5 billion

Note: We had to fill out a public record request to get an accurate number of employees and civilian personnel and have not yet received an answer. The approximations above are from the L.A. County website.

The LASD is responsible for overseeing all unincorporated areas of L.A. County.

Some of these areas have large populations, such as East LA (125,000 residents) and Altadena (44,000 residents). Some have tiny populations, such as Castaic and Catalina Island.

The Sheriff & # 39; s Department also patrols 42 cities that do not have their own police stations, including Compton, Lynwood, Malibu, West Hollywood, Lancaster and Palmdale. Here is the full list of contract cities.

The department also oversees parks, community colleges, and district buildings and provides bailiffs for the courts.

But if you only remember one thing, do it like this: the L.A. Sheriff & # 39; s Department runs the prisons.

An entrance to the Central Juvenile Hall, which houses both boys and girls. (Chava Sanchez / LAist)


LA has the largest local prison system in the country. A few months ago there were about 17,000 inmates. It now holds less than 12,000 Due to premature releases, fewer arrests, and a temporary zero-bail policy where the police quoted and released low-ranking offenders.

All of these measures should create more space for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Prison reform activists praised these reforms as a good start – but they too filed a lawsuit argue that they weren't enough.

Activists are committed to further lowering the population by extending the bail to zero, releasing people waiting for the trial and transferring mentally ill inmates to community care facilities.

LA prisons have long been a battleground for criminal justice reform. In court proceedings from the 1970s, inhumane conditions, abuse of inmates and inadequate care for mentally ill people were described.

In 2012 a blue ribbon panel issued a devastating report that found a "persistent pattern of unreasonable violence" by Sheriff's MPs on inmates. The report said the problem was "many years ago" and blamed the then sheriff Lee Baca and his under-sheriff Paul Tanaka. Both were later convicted by a federal jury for attempting to cover up these abuses. And both are now Serving time in prison.

Former Sheriff Lee Baca. (David McNew / Getty Images)

The district agreed in 2019 pay $ 53 million to thousands of former inmates at the South LA Women's Prison, which MPs forced to endure "highly invasive visual and cave searches under inhumane conditions" between 2008 and 2015. The vast majority of these women were black and Latina. It was one of the largest payouts in the history of the county.

The prisons stay under one August 2015 settlement between the county and the U.S. Department of Justice, which requires a wide range of reforms, from reducing the use of violence against inmates to improving mental health care.

To comply with the agreement, the county agreed to install hundreds of cameras in the prisons to prevent excessive violence. The county also created the Correctional Health Services department to focus on better care for inmates. The revised training of MPs has reduced the serious use of violence against inmates.

However, the federal monitor tasked with monitoring the implementation of the reforms has found in various reports that mentally ill inmates continue to suffer from inadequate therapy and other services.

Proponents argue that people with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, extreme depression or short psychotic disorders only get worse behind bars and do not belong there at all.

A report found that more than half of all inmates with mental health problems do not have to be in prison.

Proponents also point out that many inmates with mental illnesses are homeless and have only committed crimes to improve quality of life. These are crimes that have no specific victim, but can affect the quality of life in a neighborhood – such as drinking in public, urinating public, and "disorderly behavior".

For many advocates, getting mental and homeless people out of prisons is a key component in creating a fairer, more humane criminal justice system.

On the other hand, many law enforcement officials argue that homeless and mentally ill people pose a risk to themselves and / or others. They also point out that LA does not yet have enough municipal care facilities Be sure to accommodate everyone who has mental illness or is homeless.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva went further and called prison reforms a ""failed social experiment. "

One last point in the prisons, and it's a big one:

In February 2019, the county’s regulatory agency took the extraordinary step to lift plans to replace the aging men's central prison in the city center with a new facility.

Instead, the board voted to build a psychiatric facility – or possibly a number of clinics across the county. To find out how this could work, the board set up an "Alternatives to Detention" working group that is dominated by health professionals and activists, not sheriff officials.

It was a big breakthrough for reformers – almost inscrutable until the moment it happened.

The report of the working group – "Care first, prisons last"- prioritized five efforts:

  1. Expand and expand outpatient care
  2. Make sure that people with mental health and / or substance abuse disorders receive appropriate psychological responses and not law enforcement agencies
  3. Implement release and rerouting services for people who are waiting for a trial (so they don't have to languish in prison if they can't bail).
  4. Offer effective treatment services in custody-free environments
  5. Continue to involve people with lived experiences and set policies and tools to help reduce and ultimately eliminate racial differences

On July 7, 2020, amid protests by George Floyd and the pandemic, regulators voted to examine whether it would be possible to close the prison within a year and reinvest the savings in underserved communities.

In the meantime, regulators have given the Alternatives to Imprisonment Working Group an office to find out what to do with the $ 2.2 billion the county would spend on replacing the central men's prison.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff, Alex Villanueva, welcomes new recruits during the graduation ceremony for Class 433 of the L.A. County Sheriff & # 39; s Academy at East Los Angeles College, Friday, January 4, 2019. (Kyle Grillot for LAist)


Law enforcement budgets were once a backlog for activists and journalists. But with the murder of George Floyd, which triggers nationwide calls for reform, they get a lot of attention.

"Suddenly, budgeting has become sexy," Ivette Alé, Justice L.A.'s senior policy leader, told LAist.

Almost all of the money for the sheriff's department comes from the county’s general fund – a pool of tax revenue that the county can spend at will.

LASD has a budget of around $ 3.5 billion (which outshines the LAPDs). Much of tBillions of tubes flow into the nutrition, clothing, housing and administration of around 12,000 detained people every day.

The Sheriff & # 39; s Department is responsible for overseeing the entire prison system, which includes seven facilities that extend from South LA through downtown to the northern parts of the county. It is a massive operation.

The budget document of the Byzantine district is almost impenetrable. If you have the intestinal strength, you can go into the details of how the sheriff spends his money in the city Recommended district budget for 2020-21.

If you prefer not to go down this pain tunnel, here are some basics:

The budget is approved by the supervisory board. In fact, the only control the board has over the independently chosen sheriff is money. Once they have handed it over, the sheriff can spend it in any way without restriction.

The board tried to contain Sheriff Alex Villanueva's deficit spending in 2019 when it did withheld $ 143 million from him and hit a partial hiring freeze on the department.

In his Care First Budget, L.A. County reinvented Report, Justice L.A. suggested that $ 1 billion be removed from the sheriff's budget. It pushed for a wide range of cuts in homeland security operations, Metrolink patrols, the helicopter office, and community college district patrols. "Our communities are not safer because of the sheriff," said the group's political advisor.

In addition, Justice L.A. urged the Board of Supervisors to immediately close the men's central prison and either release all inmates housed there or transfer them to other facilities. The group says the annual operating cost of $ 160 million should be transferred to community organizations.

The demand for a cut in the sheriff's budget comes in light of a projected $ 1 billion tax revenue decline for the county due to COVID-19. This has already prompted regulators to cut the budget requested by the sheriff by $ 400 million.

You can read more about it Here and Herewhere Villanueva threatened to close patrol stations in response to the board's action.

It is worth noting that the board and Villaueva had a rocky relationship dating back to his New hiring of a deputy charged with domestic violence. He recently argued with superiors Body cameras.

(Chava Sanchez / LAist)


Almost all of the money for the LA Police Department comes from the city's general fund – a pool of tax revenue the city can spend at will. LAPD funding still accounts for almost 54% of the city's general fund. According to Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, that's far too much.

In the past, police budgets were blocked for handicrafts. Combined with the fear of the elected leaders to be perceived as crime-friendly Power of the Los Angeles Police Protective League (the union that represents ordinary LAPD officials) has resulted in a significant cut in the budget never really on the table.

As with the sheriff's budget, George Floyd's murder changed all of this.

After pressure from Black Lives Matter LA supporters increased on July 1, the LA City Council voted to remove $ 150 million from the LAPD budget and pass the money on to black and Latin American communities. The cuts will be partially achieved by reducing new hires and reducing the armed forces from 10,009 officers to 9,757 by July 2021.

The police union denounced the move and said it would "paralyze" the training, increase the city's debt for unpaid overtime, and slow emergency response times. The The city administration official and chief legislative analyst admitted that reducing attitudes "could negatively impact response times."

The cuts were "a step forward," but "mostly symbolic," said Black Lives Matter L.A. co-founder Melina Abdullah. The popular budget of the BLM demands that it be abolished Law enforcement (in its current form) by reducing the LAPD budget by 90% and redirecting the rest of the money to psychiatric care, housing and other social services (i.e. the collective term "Defund the Police").

A protester gets water in his eyes after police use tear gas in the Los Angeles Fairfax District. (Chava Sanchez / LAist)


One of the most important things you need to know: California has recently redefined the circumstances in which the use of lethal force by a police officer is considered justified. A new law, AB 392, entered into force on January 1 and allows officials to use lethal violence only if they reasonably believe that it is necessary to save themselves or another person from impending serious physical harm or death.

California previously used a similar federal standard set by the US Supreme Court that did not include the word "necessary".

It remains unclear how this new, tighter language will affect the court. Will prosecutors use it to file criminal charges against officials who use lethal violence? It remains to be seen.

The new law has also made another important change. The prosecutor could think about the actions of an official to lead to a shoot. This is important because California state attorneys have a problem called "danger caused by the officer. "

Here is an example: An officer jumps in front of a fleeing car and then shoots the driver because the officer's life was in danger … even though it was the officer's decisions that caused the danger of being killed by the car.

Under the new law, prosecutors can ask whether an officer has placed himself in a dangerous situation unnecessarily and whether the officer was negligent in the moments before a violent confrontation.

Another thing you should know about the use of police force is that many shootings are now being videotaped by an officer's body-worn cameras. California The police must make the video available to the public within 45 days of the shooting – unless the release would interfere with an investigation.

The LAPD started equipping its officers with body cameras almost five years ago. The sheriff department still doesn't have it, but has promised start rolling it out later this year (see details of the resulting funding feud above).

Body camera images are often distracting, but it allows the public to see what happened – at least from the officer's point of view.

To better understand the use of violence Here is a LAPD video a fatal shooting of a man with a knife in April. It will take more than 10 months for the department to submit its results to the police commission shootings, which will then decide whether the officer follows the department's guidelines.

An activist holds up a picture of Kisha Michael (left) and Marquintan Sandlin. The city of Inglewood settled for $ 8.6 million in an unlawful death in February 2016 due to the fatal police shootings. (Frank Stoltze / KPCC)


Black Lives Matter L.A. said that 601 people in LA were killed by the police since District Attorney Jackie Lacey took office in December 2012. BLM also says Lacey should be voted out because she has not prosecuted any of these officials. Charges have been broughtbut against one: Sheriff's deputy Luke Liu for the murder of an unarmed man in Norwalk.

BLM leaders have stated that their numbers include people who died in prison for natural causes and suicide, as well as people who were killed in law enforcement car accidents. This is partly because Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter L.A., told LAist that the organization believes the police cannot be trusted to truthfully report deaths in police custody. An example? The Minneapolis police first informed the public that George Floyd had died after a "medical incident". Only after the viewer's footage was released was it considered murder (one of the officials was charged with second degree murder).

"It is important that we remember that we cannot rely on the police to tell us what is suicide, what is police death," said Abdullah. "Every time someone is in police custody and dies, we count those numbers."

Our review of the data from the L.A. County Medical Examiner-Coroner Office, compiled in the L.A. Times Homicide Report Law enforcement officers found have killed 329 people since 2013. The murder report lists 877 people killed by law enforcement officers in LA County since January 1, 2000.

In the 20 years that the medical examiner's data contained, a total of 351 police killings were reported in the city of L.A.

You can find more information in our "Officer involved" Project that takes you deep into the dynamics of police shootings and shows how officers are trained. The 2015 KPCC investigation found that LA County police – that is, the LAPD, the sheriff's department, and all other departments – shot fatally at blacks triple their share of the population.

The pattern was not repeated with any other breed group.

The California Department of Justice published a report in 2017 with similar findings.

In our 2018 podcast To repeatReporter Annie Gilbertson intervened in the sheriff department shootings and found that more than 30 MPs had opened fire at least three times during her career. She also repeatedly found that officers were brought back to the field, even after investigations showed that the person who shot them was unarmed.

The podcast deals specifically with the case of a proxy who, according to the recordings, shot four people within seven months. Listen.

To learn more about police reform, read President Obama's report Task Force on Policing in the 21st Century, written in the wake of the police Killing Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. It addresses a wide range of police issues, focusing on how the police can be reformed rather than defused (which Black Lives Matter would consider insufficient).

When it comes to police officers using violence, you should know that there is something like a ""Use of power continuum. " Officers are trained to use the least amount of force possible when approaching someone. What is the lowest force? It is actually their mere presence that can act as a deterrent.

After Brown's murder in Ferguson, law enforcement officers across LA trained officers in the art of de-escalation. The police are already trained to calm people down in high-stress situations … even if they don't always do so. And it's not uncommon for officers to have a situation under control, only for another officer to show up and tensions escalate.

The L.A. Police Commission revised its use of violence policy De-escalation in 2017. The LAPD also publishes an annual review of the end of year violence Here is the one from 2019.

One last thing: The Campaign Zero activist research group came up with an interesting one "Model application of violence policy" it is also worth a look. Some activists have criticized it as a misguided approach to the Reformation.

The Los Angeles Police Department headquarters are located in downtown LA (Andrew Cullen for LAist)


Police records are notoriously difficult to obtain.

But they're particularly hard to come by in California. You can learn more in the deep times of the LA Times the story of transparency.

In the 1970s, powerful police unions persuaded lawmakers to legislate – and sign Governor Jerry Brown – that practically completed disciplinary reports. Misconduct was kept in the dark – even by prosecutors.

In addition, the families of people killed by the police were often forced to file lawsuits to gain access to investigative files that could provide information about the deaths of their relatives.

Then there was a dramatic shift.

Amidst a changing debate about policing, fueled in Sacramento by the police murder of Stephon Clark in 2018, lawmakers passed a law in 2019 that opened up police discipline and investigative documents in three key areas:

  • Records of every incident in which a police officer fired a gun at a person (regardless of whether someone was hit), or applied violence that resulted in serious injury or Death. You can get these records regardless of whether the department has determined that the officer acted properly.
  • R.ecords related to incidents where the agency found that an official had sexually assaulted a member of the public, including attempts to force or suggest sex on duty. (The change in law actually led to this History is reported.)
  • Records of incidents where the Agency found that an official committed dishonesty in investigating, reporting or prosecuting crime; or Misconduct by the police. This type of dishonesty could include submitting a false report, untrue witnessing, or planting evidence.

The ACLU that supported the law has more information Here.

Nevertheless, many police stations have it violently resisted to obey. Some have refused to deliver documents. Others have set up roadblocks. For example, the office of the L.A. County Sheriff wanted us to pay over $ 3,000 to access District Prison System records.

In addition, unions representing law enforcement officers filed more than 20 lawsuits try to block the publication of records from before January 1, 2019, when the law came into force.

KPCC / LA is successful and the Los Angeles Times opposed the unions' attempts.

That's a long way to go to say that despite the changes, the fight for police records continues.

Early 2020, KPCC / LAist have teamed up with more than 30 news organizations the California Reporting Project. Reporters are currently work together to request, review and share records from any law enforcement agency in the state.

A LA policeman wears an AXON body camera during Make America Great March immigrant to protest the Trump administration's actions on February 18, 2017. (Photo by David McNew / Getty Images)


Perhaps the most significant breakthrough in police accountability in the past decade: body-worn cameras.

Bystander cameras have been playing an increasingly important role in police surveillance since the Rodney King video was seen by the world in 1991 a Viewer video that brought widespread awareness of the murder of George Floyd.

Body cams offer a different and sometimes better view. In some cases, they also refute the police argument that a viewer video did not cover the entire incident.

Body-worn cameras are now a litmus test for the commitment of an accountability department. The LAPD started equipping its officers with cameras in 2015 and has now equipped 7,000 of them.

The sheriff department will not start equipping MPs see you later this year – It is the last major police force in the country to use body cams.

Why? The Board of Supervisors declined the price for the cameras that former sheriff Jim McDonnell presented. After taking office in 2018, Sheriff Villanueva offered a plan at a much lower cost, but the process continued to be slow, causing him to accuse the board of trolling of his feet.

California law now required Law enforcement agencies publish all videos (from body cameras, dash cameras, or other cameras) that were collected at the scene of a shooting or other major violence and that cause serious physical injury within 45 days of the incident, unless this would cause a disruption investigation.

This report from the National Institute of Justice Examines best practices for verifying body cam evidence.

As we know, publishing such videos can be very powerful. Among the more disturbing in the LA area:

However, there are two important questions about who can watch the body cam videos and when:

  1. How much access does the public have not only to shootings and other major violence, but to all body cam videos recorded by officials? The LAPD and LASD argue that there is evidence and therefore the public should not have access. Watchdogs say this has to change if we really want to bring law enforcement to account.
  2. Wann können Beamte das Video einer Schießerei ansehen, an der sie beteiligt waren – bevor oder nachdem sie ihre Version von dem geschrieben haben, was passiert ist? Auch hier bestehen LAPD und LASD darauf, dass ihre Polizisten das Video zuerst ansehen sollten. Wachhunde sagen, Offiziere sollten begründen, warum sie das Feuer eröffnet haben, bevor sie ein Video sehen, was sie dazu veranlassen könnte, ihre Version der Ereignisse zu ändern.

Body-Cam-Videos können im Namen der Verantwortlichkeit viel bewirken. Aber jeder Experte wird Ihnen sagen, dass die Beamten auf der einfachsten Ebene ihre Partner in Schach halten müssen.

Stellen Sie sich einen Vorfall im April in Boyle Heights vor, bei dem ein LAPD-Beamter wiederholt einen Obdachlosen geschlagen hat.

Der Partner des Offiziers war da. The Aufnahmen von der Körperkamera des Offiziers beginnt um 8:18 im Video. Und es ist sehr wahrscheinlich, dass der Vorfall den Vorgesetzten nicht als übermäßiger Einsatz von Gewalt gemeldet worden wäre, wenn es keinen gegeben hätte Zuschauer Video.

Wenn sich ein Beamter weigert, über das schlechte Verhalten eines Kollegen zu sprechen, wird dies als Schweigekodex bezeichnet. Historisch gesehen war es ein großes Problem bei der Polizeiarbeit. Das National Institute of Ethics veröffentlichte a sehr gutes Papier drauf.

Die Polizeibeamten müssen eine Kultur der Rechenschaftspflicht schaffen und Systeme einrichten, in denen sich die Menschen sicher fühlen können, wenn sie Vorfälle von Fehlverhalten melden. Wachhunde sagen, dass zu wenige dies tun.

Jetzt wäre ein guter Zeitpunkt, um einen kurzen Clip aus dem Film anzusehen Serpico.

Vorgesetzte – meistens Sergeants und Leutnants – können eine entscheidende Rolle bei der Rechenschaftspflicht spielen, sei es an vorderster Front eines Protests oder in einem Bahnhofshaus, in dem Body-Cam-Aufnahmen überprüft werden. Es ist unbedingt erforderlich, dass sie sich weigern, den Schweigekodex einzuhalten.

Die Rechenschaftspflicht spielt derzeit im LAPD und in der Sheriff-Abteilung auf sehr unterschiedliche Weise.

Beim LAPD wählt die Polizeikommission – ein fünfköpfiges ziviles Gremium, das vom Bürgermeister ernannt wurde – den Polizeichef aus, legt die Richtlinien der Abteilung fest und entscheidet, ob ein Beamter, der jemanden erschossen hat, die Richtlinien befolgt. selbst wenn dieser Offizier nicht im Dienst ist.

Die Kommission hat auch einen Generalinspektor, der Audits durchführt, Schießereien überprüft und Beschwerden von Bürgern untersucht. Das ist viel Macht und in der Welt der Polizeiaufsicht selten.

Der Chef leitet jedoch weiterhin die Abteilung und entscheidet zusammen mit einem internen Vorstand, wann die Beamten tatsächlich diszipliniert werden sollen – einschließlich derjenigen, die schießen.

Übersetzung: Die Polizeikommission kann entscheiden, dass eine Schießerei schlecht war, aber der Chef kann beschließen, nichts dagegen zu unternehmen.

In der Sheriff-Abteilung ist das anders. Der Sheriff wird ins Amt gewählt und ist nur den Wählern verpflichtet. Es gibt nichts Analoges zur Polizeikommission – keine wöchentliche öffentliche Sitzung, bei der Zivilisten Fragen stellen und Antworten verlangen können.

Der Sheriff verteilt Disziplin nach Belieben und kann diese Disziplin kurzschließen. wie Sheriff Villanueva es getan hat.

Im Jahr 2016 hat der Aufsichtsrat die Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission. Aber es ist nur beratend. Als Villanueva sich wiederholt weigerte, dem Gremium Informationen über die Abteilung zur Verfügung zu stellen, stimmten die Wähler im März 2020 einer Maßnahme zu, mit der die Kommission vorgeladen wurde.

Aber der Sheriff hat weitergemacht widerstehen dem Versehen (das Nationale Vereinigung für zivile Aufsicht über die Strafverfolgung ist ein großartiger Ort, um mehr über dieses Problem zu erfahren.

Wenn Sie darüber sprechen, die Polizei zur Rechenschaft zu ziehen, sollten Sie Folgendes beachten:

  • Qualifizierte Immunität: Es macht es schwieriger, die Polizei zu verklagen. Erfahren Sie mehr darüber Here and Here.
  • Polizeigewerkschaftsgeld: Es hat eine gespielt mächtige Rolle bei Kommunalwahlen und beeinflusste die Art und Weise, wie gewählte Beamte die Polizei historisch behandelt haben.
  • Starke Disziplin: Viele Experten sagen, dass Disziplin zusammen mit guter Ausbildung und effektiver Aufsicht entscheidend für die Änderung der Rechenschaftspflicht der Polizei ist.

National haben Strafverfolgungsbeamte wurde selten strafrechtlich verfolgt für ihre Beteiligung an tödlichen Schießereien. Die Mercury News haben eine durchsuchbare Liste von Polizisten und Sheriffs, die wegen Verbrechen verurteilt wurden. Es enthält 179 Personen in Los Angeles County. Einige von ihnen sind immer noch am arbeiten.

Hier sind einige der vielen Fälle, in denen die Strafverfolgung in den letzten zehn Jahren in Los Angeles zur Rechenschaft gezogen wurde:

  • 2011: Die Polizei von Downey kam an einer Tankstelle an, um auf einen Anruf wegen eines bewaffneten Raubüberfalls zu antworten. Sie sagten später, der 31-jährige Michael Nida, der an der Tankstelle war, sei bedrohlich auf sie zugekommen, bevor er weggelaufen sei. Irgendwann während der Verfolgungsjagd erschoss ihn Officer Steven Gilley. Nida war der Vater von vier Kindern – Familienmitglieder sagten, als die Beamten ankamen, kaufte er Zigaretten, während seine Frau Benzin kaufte. Es stellt sich heraus, dass er Wahrscheinlich war es nicht die Person, nach der die Polizei suchte als sie den ersten Anruf erhielten, nach Angaben der Sheriff's Department, die mit der Untersuchung beauftragt wurde. Die Stadt Downey erklärte sich bereit, Nidas Familie a Abrechnung in Höhe von 4,5 Millionen US-Dollar im Jahr 2013, aber Gilley wurde nicht strafrechtlich verfolgt. Im Jahr 2019 erfuhren KPCC / LAist-Reporter, dass viele der Aufzeichnungen für diese Untersuchung wurden gereinigt Unmittelbar vor Inkrafttreten von SB 1421 (dem Gesetz, das die Transparenz von Polizeiaufzeichnungen vorschreibt) sind Einzelheiten zu den Ermittlungen noch nicht bekannt.
  • 2012: Der 19-jährige Abdul Arian floh angeblich aus einer Verkehrsbehinderung und begann unregelmäßig zu fahren. He then called 911, reportedly telling the operator that he had a gun and would use it against cops if necessary (it was later discovered that dispatchers had not told LAPD officers Arian said he had a gun). The chase ended on the 101 in Woodland Hills, where police shot and killed Arian in the middle of the freeway after he got out of his car. They fired 90 rounds. It was later revealed that Arian did not have a gun. His family filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging excessive use of force and wrongful death, negligence, and battery. The case was tossed out by a judge a year later.
  • 2014: The L.A. City Council agreed to pay a $5 million settlement to the family of 51-year-old National Guard veteran Brian Beaird, who was shot and killed by LAPD officers after a car chase. Officers suspected Beaird of drunk or reckless driving and attempted to pull him over. Beaird, who had schizophrenia and may have panicked, led police on an hour-long chase that ended when he crashed into another car at Olympic Boulevard and Los Angeles Street. When he got out of his wrecked vehicle, he put his hands up. However, the three officers mistook the sound of non-lethal bean bag rounds fired by other officers as gunfire, and opened fire on Beaird. He was shot 15 times. Beaird was unarmed. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the three LAPD officers violated department policy. A police disciplinary board found two of the officers guilty of misconduct and fired them. DA Jackie Lacey declined to press criminal charges.
  • 2014: Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old Black man with a history of mental health problems (he had previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia), was shot and killed by LAPD officers in South L.A. Ford did not have a weapon. The department said the shooting occurred after Ford struggled with an officer and tried to grab his gun. Ford's family said there was no struggle. Chief Beck said the officers acted within policy, prompting protests. Two weeks after the shooting, the LAPD released the officers' names but requested a "security hold" on the autopsy report. In 2015, both officers were cleared by the LAPD and the Police Commission. In 2017, after a 20-month review, the DA's office said it would not file charges against the two officers. Ford's family later received a $1.5 million settlement.
  • 2014: Just a few days before Ford's death, two sergeants from the LAPD's Newton Division pulled over Omar Abrego, 37, in front of his house. He was still in his Amtrak work uniform. Abrego started to flee and got into an altercation with the sergeants, one of whom punched him three times in the face. Abrego sustained a severe concussion and bruises to his face and body, and later died at the hospital. According to the L.A. Times, an autopsy showed Abrego died from the effects of cocaine but listed the "physical and emotional duress" caused by the altercation as a contributing factor. In 2016, the DA's office declined to charge LAPD sergeants. In 2017 the city agreed to pay nearly $1 million to settle a lawsuit brought by Abrego's family.
  • 2016: LAPD officers tased 42-year-old Alex Aguilar five times during a strip search. The officers said they tased him after they saw him trying to swallow a bindle of drugs and he allegedly resisted being searched. An autopsy found he choked on a bag of heroin. The family said the officers used excessive force and failed to render aid that could have saved Aguilar's life. The Police Commission ruled that use of the taser violated department policy. In 2019, a federal jury ruled that the LAPD officers were not liable for Aguilar's death.
  • 2019: The L.A. Sheriff's Department faced criticism for ending 45 ongoing misconduct investigations. The investigations involved a variety of allegations against sworn and civilian staff, ranging from sleeping on duty to mistreatment of jail inmates to concealment of inmate grievances. The department also decreased disciplinary penalties in 21 cases, ranging from excessive force to driving under the influence. Instead of being fired, several of the alleged perpetrators received suspensions.
  • 2020: Bystander video is released of Sheriff's deputies violently arresting a Black man in Compton. Sheriff Villanueva said the department is investigating the incident. Compton Mayor Aja Brown said she's demanding the deputies be reassigned away from the Compton station, and that there be consequences for "any member of law enforcement that violates the right of human beings."





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With reporting and contributions by Frank Stoltze, Gina Pollack, and Brianna Lee.

Image Credit (top): Chava Sanchez/LAist


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