In 2005, an Inglewood, Ca., police officer stood with his gun aimed at a schizophrenic man who had been stopped for drinking beer in public. After being warned not to move, the man reached to pull up his pants, and an officer shot him to death, says the Los Angeles Times. Over the last six years, Inglewood police officers have repeatedly resorted to physical or deadly force against suspects who were unarmed or accused of minor offenses. In four months this year, Inglewood officers shot and killed four people, three of them unarmed.
Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said it was unfair to portray her officers as quick to pull the trigger or excessive in using force. In some cases, she said, police opened fire only after suspects stabbed officers, shot at them, or pointed guns in their direction. The 195-member department responds to more than 130,000 calls each year, she said, usually without problems or headlines. After being told of a long series of shootings, police use of force expert Geoffrey Alpert of the University of South Carolina said it was a lot for a smaller deparment. “It raises a red flag,” he said.