Los agentes del Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles (LAPD) deberán tratar otras medidas disuasorias antes de utilizar sus armas durante un enfrentamiento, dicta una disposición aprobada el 18 de abril.
La Comisión de la Policía de Los Ángeles, un grupo de cinco civiles que vigila a la labor de la policía Angelina, ordenó que se adopte en el reglamento de los agentes la obligación de intentar disminuir la presión en una situación de enfrentamiento antes de utilizar fuerza mortal.
Así, antes de utilizar sus armas de fuego, los agentes deberán “tratar de controlar el incidente ganando tiempo, la distancia, las comunicaciones y los recursos disponibles, en un esfuerzo de no escalar la situación, si es seguro y razonable hacerlo”, señala la instrucción que será añadida al preámbulo de la política de utilización de la fuerza por parte del LAPD.
El jefe de la policía Angelina, el comandante Charlie Beck apoyó las recomendaciones señalando que fueron acordados con la participación de la Liga Protectora de la Policía, que es el sindicato de los agentes de la ciudad.
“No sólo pienso que es una política bien pensada que producirá cambios en el uso de la fuerza en la práctica y en el entrenamiento, sino también creo que es un modelo de colaboración”, declaró Beck al aprobarse la nueva medida.
Las acciones previas a la utilización de un arma por parte de un policía, serán tenidas en cuenta por la comisión para establecer si el uso de la fuerza estuvo justificado o no.
No obstante, activistas que han denunciado el abuso de la utilización de las armas por miembros de la policía de Los Ángeles, manifestaron su desagrado con la medida pues no ofrece más detalles de cómo lograr la disminución de la tensión en un caso y solamente está incluido en el preámbulo de la política sobre el tema.
El número de disparos por parte de los agentes en 2016 fue de 40, mientras que el 2015 subió a 48, según un informe del LAPD.
El año pasado, 19 personas murieron por balas disparadas por la policía en comparación con los 21 que murieron en 2015.
El Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles (LAPD) anunció el 2 de noviembre que continuará sus esfuerzos para fortalecer su vínculo con los residentes a través de foros comunitarios durante este mes de diciembre.
Entre el 2 y el 10 de diciembre, el LAPD estará realizando cerca de 10 foros en comunidades latinas con la participación de los comandantes de diferentes áreas de la ciudad.
“El LAPD continúa invirtiendo en la comunidad y la comunidad continúa confiando en nosotros”, aseguró a EFE la sargento Dendersall Stscui del Buró Central de Los Ángeles.
Las reuniones comunitarias buscan intercambiar información y escuchar las principales inquietudes de los residentes de los diferentes barrios sobre seguridad, así como afirmar la confianza entre las autoridades y los residentes.
“Estamos teniendo este diálogo para asegurarnos que la gente sepa que el Departamento los respalda y que hará todo lo necesario para que la gente se sienta segura”, agregó la oficial del LAPD.
Según recalcó, los foros son una oportunidad valiosa para que las personas comenten sus inquietudes y fortalezcan su confianza en las autoridades.
En los foros también se insistirá en la importancia de que la comunidad denuncie cualquier delito sin importar su estatus migratorio.
Recientemente, el jefe del departamento, el comandante Charlie Beck, aseguró que las políticas actuales de los agentes de no cuestionar el estatus de inmigración de las personas, no cambiarán con la nueva administración presidencial.
En una declaración a mediados de noviembre, Beck dijo que el LAPD no trabajará con las autoridades federales en sus “esfuerzos de deportación”, pues no es su función.
“No vamos a participar en actividades de control de la ley solamente basados en el estatus de inmigración de alguien. No vamos a trabajar conjuntamente con Seguridad Nacional en los esfuerzos de deportación. Ese no es nuestro trabajo”, declaró Beck.
El esfuerzo comunitario, que se prolongará hasta el 15 de diciembre y empezó el 2 de diciembre con un foro entre los oficiales de la División Rampart y miembros de esa comunidad. Luego seguirá en las áreas cubiertas por las divisiones Central, Hollenbeck, Noreste y Newton, todos sectores con una abundante población hispana.
Police Chief Charlie Beck Tuesday released security video of the chase that ended with the fatal police shooting of an 18-year-old man in South Los Angeles, but the move did little to satisfy activists who angrily shouted down the chief at a Police Commission meeting, demanding his ouster.
The video, which Beck said he released after consultation with Mayor Eric Garcetti and the District Attorney’s Office, shows Carnell Snell Jr. running with his left hand in a sweatshirt pocket, and at one point he removes his hand to reveal a handgun. He holds the gun at his side briefly, then tucks it in his waistband, turns and runs away from the camera, out of sight, with officers in pursuit.
The video does not show the actual shooting.
Beck said he decided to release the video to correct what he called competing accounts about Saturday’s shooting of Snell. He suggested that “dueling narratives” emerging about the shooting threatened to “further divide the community.”
The release of the tape came as the LAPD worked to quell protests sparked by the death of the black teenager, who was shot on 107th Street Saturday afternoon. The next day, police fatally shot another man in South L.A., a Latino. Beck said that suspect a replica gun at officers. The orange tip of the replica gun had been painted black to make it look real, the chief said.
Despite release of the video, anger still boiled over at a Police Commission meeting Tuesday in downtown Los Angeles, where activists repeatedly shouted at Beck as he tried to give an update to the panel.
One woman sneered as Beck tried to announce that department members are available to speak with members of Snell’s family.
“You’re a disgusting person,” the woman shouted at one point. “You’re a horrible leader. … You should quit for the good of the city.”
With order somewhat restored, Beck went on to decry the “amount of guns that are out on our streets.” He said 450 people have been shot so far this year in just four LAPD divisions, where more than 500 guns have been recovered.
“Handguns are far too prevalent,” Beck said. “… Until we address the core issue of violence in our communities … primarily young men with guns, we are going to be doomed to this cycle.”
Tensions later ramped up again, with the mother of Richard Risher, a man police fatally shot earlier this year in Watts, said she felt revenge on officers was the only option, saying Beck has so far failed to give her an adequate response about her son’s death.
“From today, (expletive) this protesting (expletive), I’m going to start taking your lives,” Lisa Simpson said.
Eddie H. of the Los Angeles Community Action Network attempted to put Simpson’s words into context, telling the commission that “when we cry out saying no more blood in the streets of our young men and women, our sisters, our mothers, our fathers, we’re serious about this.”
“It’s getting to the point where we really do feel that the only way this is going to change is by revolution,” he said.
He added that he was not “advocating for violence by any stretch of the imagination,” but it would not surprise him if things do turn violent.
“To all who are in this room today, we all should be held accountable,” he said. “For you are complicit if you allow your voice to continue to be impotent while we are slaughtered in the streets … if you can’t see the hurt and pain that we experience on a daily basis — so we’re saying right now, stand up and be counted.”
During the meeting, about a dozen protesters turned their backs on the chief and police commissioners.
Beck later told reporters that he understands that Simpson “grieves, but Los Angeles police officers have a very dangerous job.”
“They are courageous people,” he said. “They want to make a difference in society and they want to do the right thing. Occasionally they fall short, but the vast majority of the time they do not.”
“To have somebody target an individual just because of their profession is certainly no better than targeting somebody because of their race,” he said.
Activists Tuesday also accused Beck of selectively releasing a video that showed Snell in a bad light, while refusing to release others.
“It (the video) does not negate what the public says,” Melina Abdullah, a member of Black Lives Matter, said. “You’re trying to assassinate the character of Carnell Snell after you assassinate his body.”
She added that if the police department has the “discretion to release that tape, you can release every tape” that members of the public have been asking for.
Activists have repeatedly asked the police department to release videos of use-of-force cases, as well as footage that provides more details as to what happened to Wakiesha Wilson, a woman who was found unconscious in her jail cell on Easter Sunday and later died at the hospital.
Beck said that releasing the video footage, which was captured by a business security camera and did not belong to the department, does not obligate him to release body and in-car digital camera footage belonging to the police department.
Police Commissioner Matt Johnson said efforts are underway to develop a system for deciding whether to release videos from incidents of police force.
Rappers Snoop Dogg and The Game led a peaceful demonstration today outside a Los Angeles Police Department recruit graduation in what they called an effort to promote unity in the aftermath of the deadly shootings of police officers in Dallas.
Several dozen people joined the rappers outside police headquarters in downtown Los Angeles where the graduation ceremony was held, featuring Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck as speakers.
After the ceremony, the rappers met with Garcetti and Beck privately.
Garcetti called it an “extraordinarily powerful meeting.”
Snoop Dogg told reporters at the gathering outside the Police Administration Building that they wanted to promote unity between the community and police, while improving communication.
Snoop Dogg said he wanted to ensure that rookie officers –like those who graduated today—“know who they’re dealing with.”
“A lot of times these officers hit the streets in communities where they have never encountered a gang member or someone who had a different kind of background,” he told KNX Newsradio. “Today it’s a bunch of guys up here who come from those communities who want to show them we’re cool, we’re peaceful. We’re here in love.”
He said the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department does a better job of training its deputies for work on the streets, because they generally begin working in the county jail.
By contrast, LAPD officers are often sent into gang-plagued neighborhoods straight out of the academy.
“They’re scared, they’re nervous, and when they encounter someone, they automatically feel they must use violence as opposed to communication,” he said.
The Game echoed Snoop Dogg’s comments, saying the gathering outside the recruit graduation was a show of unity. The attendees wanted a chance to introduce themselves to the police and bring “message of love.”
The Los Angeles City Board of Police Commissioners was in Boyle Heights Tuesday night to hear from local residents about the state of policing in their neighborhood, what they got was an earful on everything crime to police-involved shootings.
The commission may have been away from its regular meeting place at LAPD headquarters in downtown L.A., but many of the people who regularly attend their meetings showed up at Hollenbeck Middle School, at times engaging in the same raucous behavior that has disrupted previous commission meetings.
Dozens of people signed up to speak, with the vast majority furiously telling the commission they believe the LAPD is doing a poor job in their community.
“When is Charlie Beck going to give his resignation?” asked Wayne Spindler, a well-known City Hall gadfly.
“Get the hell out of City Hall, Beck,” he told the police chief who was also at the meeting, drawing cheers from the audience. Many of those at the meeting were associated with the groups Black Lives Matter and White People for Black Lives. Speaker after speaker claimed in frustration that police treat people unequally based on their race, age or socio-economic status.
“You use too much enforcement against our people,” said Herman, who said he is homeless.
Others said police often stop them for no reason at all: “I have no warrants, I’m not on probation,” yet I get stopped, a resident of Compton told commissioners.
The public meeting was disrupted often by loud comments, yelling and clapping, prompting Commission President Matthew M. Johnson to warn that if the insults and disruptive behavior continued he would adjourn the meeting.
During the public session, however, a group of young people from the Ramona Gardens housing project in Boyle Heights wanted to do more than just complain about how they are treated by police, and used their speaking time to share with the commission a program they created aimed at improving interactions between police officers and the young people living in Ramona Gardens.
Amanda Gutierrez, 19, said she and two of her friends, in partnership with the nonprofit Legacy LA, came up with “Through Our Eyes,” a program designed to train new police officers about Ramona Gardens youth before they start patrolling the housing project.
“In the past, we noticed how police would harass some of our friends, but they wouldn’t bring programs to our community,” Gutierrez later told EGP. “So we created a program for them,” she said.
Erik del Rincon also lives in Ramona Gardens and helped create Through Our Eyes. He told the commission they want to hold focus groups where they can talk about issues that affect their communities and how LAPD can help.
“We hope to achieve more communication between youth and police officers,” he said.
According to Gutierrez, they recently met with Hollenbeck Division Capt. Martin Baeza and he informed them the program has to be approved by the commission before he can implement it in the division.
That’s why they were at the meeting Tuesday, to seek the support of the police commission and the city to get Through Our Eyes up and running.
Commission rules do not allow commissioners to respond to items not on the agenda, so it’s unclear if the commission will support their effort.
According to Pico Aliso resident and Hollenbeck Police Advisory Board Member Margarita Amador, police are doing a great job, citing as an example an incident she witnessed about two weeks ago when an innocent 10-year-old girl in Boyle Heights was hit with gunfire intended for a man on a bicycle. Police quickly responded to care for the girl, she said, going beyond the call of duty.
Boyle Heights resident Maria Banda attended the meeting to demand justice for her son, who she told commissioners was shot seven times by two police officers before being sent to jail in 2013.
“Two officers are giving a bad reputation to all the others who are doing a remarkable job,” she said. “Work with us Beck,” she told the police chief.
The families of other young people killed in officer-involved shootings demanded greater transparency from the LAPD. “My son was shot over 10 times in the back,” said Juan Mendez, father of 16-year old Jose Mendez, killed earlier this year by police who said he pointed a sawed-off shot gun at them when they stopped him for driving a stolen car.
“How do you explain [them saying he was] pointing at the police and he gets shot in the back?” Mendez demanded.
Longtime community activist Carlos Montes joined others in calling for the police commission to move its meetings away from LAPD headquarters and to meet at a time more convenient for the community. “Police meetings should be in the evening,” Montes said.
The L.A. Police Commission currently meets Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m.
The meeting was adjourned after someone played a video showing police officers arresting an 81-year-old man speaking during the police commission meeting held earlier that day.
Guarded by police officers, commissioners exited the meeting to the chants of “Fire Chief Beck.”
El sindicato que representa a oficiales del Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles arremetió contra el Jefe de la policía Charlie Beck el miércoles por la mañana, uniendo sus políticas a un aumento de la delincuencia y pidiendo audiencias al Ayuntamiento para que hable de sus estrategias en su lucha contra la delincuencia.
“La Liga Protectora de la Policía de Los Ángeles solicitará formalmente que el Comité de Seguridad Pública del Ayuntamiento de Los Ángeles lleve a cabo inmediatamente audiencias públicas para determinar la efectividad de los esfuerzos actuales del jefe Beck para reducir el crimen y que propone hacer para reducir el dramático aumento de la delincuencia”, anunció un
“El LAPPL también divulgará el peligroso bajo número de personal de patrullas de policía que ponen en peligro a residentes, visitantes, empresas y agentes de la policía de Los Ángeles”.
El sindicato de la policía citó un aumento del 20,2% en los crímenes violentos y un 10,7% de aumento en los delitos contra la propiedad del 2014 al 2015.
Las relaciones entre el jefe y el sindicato parecen estar particularmente tensas desde que él pidió la semana pasada que se presentaran cargos contra el oficial de LAPD, Clifford Proctor por la muerte a tiros de un indigente llamado Brendon Glenn en Venice el 5 de mayo. Fue su primera tal llamada.
“Yo no hago esto a la ligera y en la gran mayoría de las veces, como ustedes saben muy bien, yo me pongo de su lado, independientemente de la opinión pública”, el jefe le dijo a oficiales en un video. “Pero en este caso, tuve que llamarlo como lo vi. Tuve que hacer lo correcto”.
Dirigentes sindicales de la Policía acusaron al jefe de abanderamiento al enfrentar presión política y pública.
Jaime McBride, uno de los directores del sindicato dijo que al hacer pública su recomendación para acusar a Proctor, Beck se involucró “en nada menos de grandilocuencia política”, para ganarse el favor de los críticos del departamento.
Los oficiales, dijeron que “han perdido cualquier y toda la confianza” en su capacidad para dirigir la policía de Los Ángeles. “ Sería delirante creer lo contrario”, dijo McBride en un comunicado la semana pasada.
El concejal Mitch Englander, quien preside el Comité de Seguridad Pública del Ayuntamiento dijo que “apoya completamente” la petición del sindicato de tener una audiencia.
“En este momento tenemos la misma cantidad de oficiales en el departamento de policía, que teníamos cuando tuvimos el crimen más bajo hace un par de años y sin embargo, el delito esta incrementando,” dijo. “La economía ha mejorado, sin embargo, el crimen esta incrementando”, dijo Englander quien planea introducir una moción el viernes pidiendo una reunión especial del Comité de Seguridad Pública sobre el tema.
Durante la audiencia, dirigentes sindicales de la policía estarán “en la mesa” con funcionarios del departamento de policía “para compartir problemas, preguntas y sugerencias que se mueven con interés frente a esta alza de crimen”, dijo.
Englander señaló que una de las estrategias actuales de reducción de la delincuencia—mover 200 oficiales a una división de metro centralizada para que más tarde sean enviados a áreas con más crimen—“no parecen haber hecho un gran impacto ‘’ y hay dudas sobre si la práctica podría agotar recursos de patrullas.
Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Eric Garcetti Friday defended the city’s policy restricting the release of video from police officer body cameras, saying they want to preserve evidence needed to ensure criminal convictions, and prevent sometimes-embarrassing footage from being publicly aired.
The city began providing body cameras to officers this week in the LAPD’s Mission station. A total of 860 cameras will be distributed to officers in three stations over the next month.
Last Thursday, however, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, asking the federal agency to deny the city’s request for funding for more cameras, claiming the policy restricting the release of footage hinders the mission of creating transparency.
“By withholding video from the public, requiring officers to review video before making statements in use-of-force and misconduct investigations and failing to include protections against the use of body-worn cameras as general surveillance tools, LAPD’s policy provides no transparency and threatens to taint the integrity of investigations and undermine the public trust,” ACLU staff attorney Peter Bibring wrote.
Garcetti said he respects the ACLU’s position, but he does not support the blanket release of video from the cameras. He said one of the cameras caught footage this week of a domestic-violence case that included an altercation involving the suspect and victim.
“That is not something that should be shared publicly,” Garcetti said.
“We should not have a policy that says automatically that goes out to the public.”
The mayor said he also does not want the public release of footage to taint a criminal investigation, possibly endangering the chances of a conviction in court.
“When we have a bad apple in this department who does something that goes over the line that violates people’s rights and breaks the law, I don’t want anything to taint that (evidence) that should result in a conviction,” he said. “Vice versa, if we have somebody who is doing something criminal against one of our police officers or to another innocent person in this city, I want to make sure that an early release of video doesn’t taint their conviction. This is about ultimate accountability, which is our criminal justice system.”
Beck stressed that the body camera footage will be made fully available to the Office of the Inspector General, which reviews officers’ actions in use-of-force cases, and the city Police Commission, which oversees the LAPD. It will also be provided to the District Attorney’s and City Attorney’s offices on request, he said.
“I know that this is of great interest, especially to people that make their living selling video – this is very, very interesting stuff,” Beck said. “… But remember, we interact with people on their worst day. We interact with people in situations that none of you, if they were your family member, would want made generally public. We have a position of trust with people that call us to respond to their houses to deal with situations that nobody else will deal with, and we want to maintain that level of trust.”
Beck said he does not want a victim of crime to avoid calling police out of fear that video footage of them will be posted online.
“That’s not fair,” he said. “That is not what you expect and that is not what your loved ones expect when you call the police department.”
Garcetti noted that the Police Commission plans to review the body camera policy in six months.
El jefe de policía de Los Ángeles Charlie Beck, dijo el lunes que todos los agentes de la policía del departamento serán capacitados durante el próximo mes sobre formas de cómo reducir encuentros potencialmente violentos como parte de una “conversación nacional” sobre el uso de fuerza de la policía, así como en respuesta a los disparos fatales de oficiales a Ezell Ford en el sur de Los Ángeles.
La sesión de entrenamiento de cinco horas de duración, que se llevará a cabo en las 21 divisiones de policía, comenzaron el lunes con oficiales de la División de Topanga en la Preparatoria Judía New Community en West Hills. Oficiales de la División Noreste también recibieron entrenamiento el lunes, dijeron funcionarios del LAPD.
La formación se centra en la “preservación de la vida”, que incluye ver “lo que es el uso de fuerza legítimo” y el “objetivo de la policía para el uso de fuerza”, dijo Beck.
“Siempre hemos dicho que la preservación de la vida es la cosa número uno en la policía”, dijo Beck. “No es sólo acerca de la preservación de su propia vida – es sobre la preservación de la vida de las personas con quien están en contacto”.
Beck caracteriza las sesiones no como el re-entrenamiento, sino como un curso de actualización sobre las políticas del departamento.
El 11 de agosto de 2014, el disparo a Ford, de 25 años, hombre desarmado, negro que los familiares dijeron que era un enfermo mental, “tenía un ímpetu” para el entrenamiento,
“Pero no es la única razón”, dijo Beck, quien insistió en que el departamento hubiera llevado a cabo el entrenamiento de todos modos.
Beck dijo que el tiroteo de Ford “es un incidente importante en la historia de el Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles” y es parte de una “conversación nacional” impulsada por disparos de la policía en todo el país, todos los cuales “impactan la forma de cómo los policías de Los Ángeles se sienten acerca de su trabajo”.
“Tenemos que reconocer que esto no es un tema que se trata sólo de otros lugares. Se trata, de aquí también”, dijo.
Los oficiales recibirán entrenamiento sobre el control de los miembros del público que son enfermos mentales, incluyendo técnicas de apaciguamiento y “el papel que nuestros médicos desempeñan para ayudar a los oficiales en el campo”, según el comandante Andy Smith, portavoz del LAPD.
Beck dijo que los oficiales también aprenderán sobre la historia de la relación entre los agentes de policía de Los Ángeles y el público, y la práctica de la policía comunitaria.
Beck dijo que hizo una aparición personal en el evento de entrenamiento del lunes envió un mensaje a los agentes de policía que “esto es algo que no sólo yo apoyo, pero [algo en] lo que creo”, así como para mostrar al público que la policía de Los Ángeles “se toma este momento muy en serio”.
A 12.7 percent increase in violent and property crime in Los Angeles during the first half of the year is “bad news,” Mayor Eric Garcetti acknowledged Wednesday, but he and police Chief Charlie Beck said a ramped-up domestic violence response team and additional back-up officers should help stem the crime rise.
The figures marked the first time in about a decade that overall crime has risen in the city.
The leap in crime “is bad news, but … my administration doesn’t run away from bad news,” said Garcetti, who joined Beck at a news conference to address the crime statistics.
Violent crime rose 20.6 percent overall in the first six months of the year, compared with the same time last year, according to Los Angeles Police Department figures.
In the violent crime category, homicide fell 6.7 percent, but rape was up 7.9 percent, robbery up 16.6 percent and aggravated assaults increased by 26.3 percent.
Property crimes rose 10.9 percent, police said. Burglary saw a 15.8 percent jump, while auto theft was up 13.8 percent and larceny up by 8.9 percent.
The increase could be driven by higher rates of domestic violence, gang crime and “an increase of folks that are living on the street that are more likely involved in violent incidences,” Beck said.
Garcetti said domestic violence response teams, which had been limited to a few police stations, will be expanded to all 21 police division by the end of summer, with funding and contracts already in place.
Meanwhile, a back-up unit stationed at the Metropolitan Division will be boosted by 200 officers by the end of the year to offer police support across the city, Garcetti said.
Other measures in the works include expanding the areas where gang-intervention work will take place, retraining officers in de-escalation techniques and rolling out body cameras to a few divisions this summer, and eventually to the entire police department by next year, Garcetti said.
Community activists Wednesday urged District Attorney Jackie Lacey to file criminal charges against an LAPD officer found by the Police Commission to have violated department policy in the fatal shooting of an unarmed, mentally ill black man.
The Los Angeles Police Commission ruled on Tuesday that one officer violated department policy, but another was justified in firing his weapon at Ezell Ford.
In ruling that Officer Sharlton Wampler’s use of deadly force in the death of Ford last August violated Los Angeles Police Department policy, the commission rejected Chief Charlie Beck’s finding that Wampler had adhered to policy.
Beck will ultimately decide what discipline, if any, the officers will face. The District Attorney’s Office will review the shooting to determine if any criminal charges are warranted, Steve Soboroff said Tuesday.
“This is a tragedy for all involved — the family, relatives, loved ones and friends of Mr. Ford, as well as the involved police officers,” Soboroff said. “To the Ford family, my fellow Police Commissioners and I extend our sincere sympathies for your profound loss.”
Soboroff went on to say the LAPD has the most extensive review process in the nation for use-of-force incidents.
“Our review of this incident has been intense and intensive,” he said announcing the decision.
Activists and Ford’s family disagree.
Lacey “should file criminal charges against Wampler,” community activist Najee Ali said at a news conference outside the District Attorney’s Office in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday morning.
“We want justice,” Ali told reporters. “We want Wampler prosecuted — at the very least for assault under color of authority. The community cares about Ezell Ford being shot and killed by the LAPD.”
The commission ruled there was no reason to have detained Ford in the first place and that Wampler badly mishandled the encounter, leading to the fatal confrontation. It said its ruling was based on the “totality” of the circumstances, not just the moment when force was used.
Wampler’s partner, Antonio Villegas, was found to have been much less culpable, with the panel objecting to his initial decision to draw his weapon early in the confrontation but upholding his decision to fire at Ford to protect Wampler.
Autopsy results showed Ford was shot three times — in the right side of his back, the right arm and the right abdomen. The gunshot wounds to the back and the abdomen were both fatal, according to the report.
Ford was pronounced dead in an operating room at California Hospital Medical Center.
The autopsy report noted that the gunshot wound on Ford’s back had “muzzle imprint,” indicating the shot was fired at close range, and that Ford had some marijuana in his system.
Craig Lally, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said the union supports Beck’s findings that both officers involved in the shooting were justified and their actions were in policy.
“Chief Beck’s findings were based on facts presented and his over 40 years of law enforcement,” Lally said in a statement. “Every day, LAPD officers are put directly in harm’s way as they face complex situations, unthinkable dangers and split-second decisions all in an effort to protect the citizens of Los Angeles. On the other hand, we are extremely disappointed in the findings of the Police Commission.”
Lally contended the commission was swayed by protesters and external political influences, “resulting in a determination that was purely political and self-serving. We believe the commission’s decision was irresponsible and reckless and was solely made to avoid civil unrest.”
The five-member commission deliberated behind closed doors for several hours before announcing its decision. In a raucous public meeting beforehand, commissioners heard dozens of people urging that both officers be held accountable for Ford’s death.
“I’m begging you, please, please. My son would never grab for no gun,” Ford’s mother Tritobia said. “He wanted to live … He walked the streets. I didn’t want him to walk the streets around there because I know it was unsafe. That was his right. And he didn’t deserve to die for it…”
“Please, think about it. Ezell was mentally ill. He wasn’t a lunatic. He wasn’t suicidal, he wanted to live,” Ford’s mother said. “These officers did wrong. They did wrong.”
Ford, 25, was fatally shot on Aug. 11, 2014, near 65th Street and Broadway. Police said the officers approached Ford for acting suspiciously, and he lunged at one of them and began trying to grab Wampler’s weapon.
Beck and the department’s independent watchdog, Inspector General Alex Bustamante, each concluded in separate reports that the officers were justified in their actions, although Bustamante faulted the tactics used by one of the officers in approaching Ford in the first place.
The Police Commission, which has the final say on whether the officers acted properly, met behind closed doors for more than three hours reviewing the investigations and concluded that some of the officers’ actions were within department policy and some were not.
Beck will ultimately decide what discipline, if any, Wampler will face. The District Attorney’s Office will review the shooting to determine if any criminal charges are warranted.
Ford’s family filed a federal civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit last September against the LAPD, alleging Ford was shot in the back as he lay on the ground.
According to the lawsuit, Wampler and Villegas — who are named plaintiffs — engaged in an unlawful search and seizure of Ford, denied him due process, used excessive force and violated his civil rights.
“No officer goes to work with the intent of using deadly force,” Lally said. “Officers may be compelled to use force when there is an objectively reasonable certainty that there could be injury to themselves or someone else. In the case of Ezell Ford, the only reason one would attempt to take an officer’s weapon is to use it against the officer, his partner or an innocent bystander.”