The six-officer Critical Incident Response Team will automatically investigate when a state trooper shoots somebody and will be available to other police agencies. State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders said the unit isn’t tasked with determining whether a shooting was justifiable. “Our objective is just to gather the facts,” he said.
A study of the 990 incidents in 2015 in which deadly force was used by police and resulted in death has found that African Americans were more than twice as likely to have been unarmed during the encounter.
A 2015 law requires law enforcement agencies to report their shootings of civilians to the state. There there is no penalty for not reporting, but the law’s sponsor wants to change that. Some 106 agencies did report 105 fatal shootings.
Protests over killings by police officers continued in 2016 after a year of demonstrations nationwide that followed the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Americans’ respect for police jumped in a Gallup survey after officers were killed in Dallas and Baton Rouge.
The Washington Post finds that the total dropped from 991 last year to 957 as of Dec. 29. Black males were three times as likely to die as whites, based on their share of the national population. More fatal shootings in 2016 were captured on video.
Jackie Lacey must make tough decisions about whether to charge Los Angeles cops in controversial shootings of black citizens. At the same time, she faces pressure from African Americans to do the right thing on behalf of her race.
Ten days after it occurred, police officials gathered to watch a video of the controversial 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald by Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke and concluded the shooting was justified. A lieutenant who attended the meeting says in newly revealed documents, “Everyone agreed that Officer Van Dyke used the force necessary to eliminate the threat, and that’s pretty much it.”
Law enforcers in Bakersfield and Kern County, who killed 14 people in 2015, became the focus of an investigation by the Guardian newspaper. California Attorney General Kamala Harris said the state will conduct a “patterns and practices” probe of civil rights violations.
Police shootings and former Dallas Chief David O. Brown head TCR’s list of top criminal justice stories and newsmakers for 2016. Readers and contributors also selected Donald Trump’s election win, the bipartisan justice reform movement in the states, and the probe into Russian election hackers as among the 10 developments that bear watching next year.