Many would say that the Los Angeles Police Department has had a poor rap with the people of the city for decades. One of the greatest issues in LA is the large number of police involved shootings. Now, the city of Los Angeles has voted to require police officers to make efforts to diffuse a situation before firing their weapons.
The Los Angeles Times reported:
The new rules formally incorporate a decades-old concept called “de-escalation” into the Los Angeles Police Department’s policy outlining how and when officers can use deadly force. As a result, officers can now be judged specifically on whether they did all they could to reduce tensions before resorting to their firearms.
Tuesday’s unanimous vote caps a 13-month effort by the Police Commission to revise the policy. Two sentences will be added to the department’s manual, the first of which tells officers they must try to de-escalate a situation—“whenever it is safe and reasonable to do so”—by taking more time to let it unfold, moving away from the person and trying to talk to him or her, and calling in other resources.
Now, of course, the question at hand is “What does that actually mean?” The LAPD has been known for working their way around laws and notorious for shooting first and asking questions later. So how can this mandate really change things?
A report in the LA Times mentioned that American Civil Liberties Union expressed “concern” in a letter to the commission before the meeting on Tuesday (Apr.19). Their concerns included the lack of a thorough language in the revision. They advised the city to not accept the document.
The LAPD is has been responsible for over 400 shooting since 2007. In 2016 the department was responsible for 40 shootings, missing Chicago by just 6. African Americans were a third of the number shot by Los Angeles police.