Crime & Justice

LAPD police commission: Officer-involved shootings double, data still limited


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Los Angeles Police Commission President Matthew Johnson said police shootings are up so far this year - 45 as opposed to 23 at this point in 2014 - he found it "alarming."

New data on LAPD shootings released Tuesday is limited to raw numbers, lacking answers to key questions, such as whether the suspect was armed or mentally ill.
 
Johnson pledged to reduce the number of officer involved shootings, by using the data to weed out troubling trends and identify best practices.
 
“I believe we can work towards vastly reducing the number of use of force incidents through extensive training and modifying our tactics,” Johnson said in a news release.

The statistic was released during a raucous meeting of the Police Commission, where members of Black Lives Matter were pressing for data on shootings.
 
The announcement comes on the heels of an investigation by KPCC, which found one in four people shot by officers is unarmed. The data covered all law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles - not just the LAPD.
 
“These findings, if accurate, are obviously very troubling,” said County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who vowed Tuesday to look into it. “We have seen across the nation how shootings of unarmed people can reduce trust and damage a community.”
 
KPCC found LAPD shot at least 106 people between the January 2010 and December 2014, 13 of which were unarmed. The data comes from an analysis of Los Angeles District Attorney case summaries.
 
The L0s Angeles County Sheriff’s Department surpassed LAPD, according to KPCC's analysis: It’s deputies shot at least 144 people, 52 of which were unarmed.
 
Johnson requested the Office of the Inspector General to analyze the last decade of LAPD’s use of force and compare it other cities like Chicago and New York. Those comparisons are difficult, as different agencies across the country report different data around officer use of force.
 
He said the review will also grapple with “less than lethal” practices, such as Tasers, beanbag shotguns and batons, as a possible strategy for reducing officer-involved shootings.

Whatever changes come to tactics, discipline decisions are made solely by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. 

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti pledged to support the commission’s probe.
 
“Any death is always a tragedy,” Garcetti told KPCC. “Some are unavoidable. But, what can we do to save even one life, five lives, 10 lives over the coming years.”

This story has been updated.