Last year, as Los Angeles police shootings soared, Police Chief Charlie Beck said officers were discharging their weapons more because they were coming under attack more. An independent police watchdog contends there was no link between the dramatic rise in officer-involved shootings and assaults on officers, reports the Los Angeles Times. Alex Bustamante, the inspector general for the Los Angeles Police Commission, which oversees the police department, challenged the way it tallies assaults on officers, suggesting it is misleading. Los Angeles police fired their weapons in 63 incidents last year, a total which marked a roughly 50 percent increase over the shootings in any of the previous four years.
Beck has explained the increase by pointing to what the LAPD said was a 22 percent increase in assaults on officers from 2010 to 2011. Police officials counted 193 such incidents in 2011, which were recorded as assaults with a deadly weapon or attempted murders. The inspector general found several reasons why he said this cause-and-effect relationship wasn’t accurate. For one, from 2007 to last year, the number of assaults on officers fluctuated dramatically from one year to the next. The number of officer-involved shootings, however, remained relatively flat until last year, when they jumped. If there had been a connection between the two, the year-to-year totals should have climbed and dropped in sync, the report says.