A new commission named by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa overruled Police Chief William Bratton and concluded that a detective acted improperly in shooting an unarmed burglary suspect last year, the Los Angeles Times reports. The panel, which the mayor promised would be “vigorous in their oversight,” refused to accept Bratton’s recommendation that the detective used proper force as allowed by department policy when he wounded the man.
It is unusual for the commission to reject the chief’s findings. In the vast majority of shootings, commissioners follow the chief’s recommendations when it comes to determining whether officers acted within the department’s use-of-force policy, a Times review found. This track record has prompted LAPD critics to accuse the commission of being a rubber stamp and for not acting vigorously against police misconduct. The panel is expected to deal with several high-profile cases in the months ahead, including the killing of a 13-year-old boy at the end of a police chase and the shooting death of a 19-month-old infant during a hostage standoff.