Flashlight “Not Tool Of Choice” For L.A. Officers

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The 636-page Los Angeles Police Department manual on procedures covers everything from chokeholds to the type of belts officers must wear. It includes no specific mention of using flashlights to subdue suspects, says the Los Angeles Times. That’s what an officer was videotaped using last week to strike 36-year-old Stanley Miller 11 times after a car chase. (Miller’s attorney said his client has “classic” signs of brain damage, including slurred speech and difficulty concentrating, the Associated Press reports.) Police in New York, Chicago, and Detroit have severely restricted use of flashlights as weapons and have equipped some officers with smaller, lighter flashlights. LA Chief William Bratton ordered a review of flashlight use to subdue suspects, saying the incident looked “awful, quite frankly.”

Assistant Chief George Gascon said LAPD officers are allowed to wield a flashlight as an “impact weapon” with aggressive or combative suspects, but only when a baton was not available and only for defensive purposes. “The flashlight is not the tool of choice,” he said. So far this year, the LAPD has recorded seven use-of-force incidents involving flashlights. In 2003, it reported 15, down from 24 in 2002. Those cases were considered “non-categorical use of force,” meaning the blows were not administered to a suspect’s head or were not likely to cause life-threatening injury

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-flashlights30jun30,1,5394858.story?coll=la-home-headlines

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