A Los Angeles entertainment lawyer has turned the city’s police commission into a force for addressing police abuse. His first goal: reducing the officer-involved shootings that have become the civil rights issue of the 21st century for young African Americans through “de-escalation” strategies.
In an unusual move, the city’s Police Commission dedicated its entire weekly meeting to the issue of officer bias against minorities. No bias complaint has ever been upheld by the LAPD, but residents and community activists, both black and Latino, shared stories of moments they felt profiled by police. “They fear the police,” said one activist.
Tuesday’s session is designed as a “robust discussion” of allegations of biased policing, what incoming officers learn about bias during their time in the academy and how supervisors are trained to guard against it. The LAPD has prepared a 143-page report for the meeting.
In many ways, the six- year tenure of Charlie Beck as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has been a triumph. In October, Beck went to the White House with 130 other law enforcement leaders to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss the future of criminal justice, and it was Beck who was chosen to speak with the president on the group's behalf. Today, under the leadership of Beck and his mentor and predecessor, William J. Bratton, […]
FBI Director James Comey disgraced himself last week when he claimed that criticisms of the police over the past year have contributed to the rise in violent crime. He added, in his October 23 speech at the University of Chicago, that he had no evidence to support this statement. Of course he doesn't have any. There is no evidence. Comey's claim sends absolutely the wrong message to the country. Without saying so directly, the message is: If you criticize the […]
The transformation of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) over the past two decades from a once-feared “occupation” force into a community-conscious law enforcement agency is one of the country's most riveting stories. Award-winning author Joe Domanick's critically acclaimed new book, Blue: The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing, raises the question of whether the reforms begun by Chief Bill Bratton, and continued by his successor Charlie Beck, have changed the behavior of rank-and-file cops—and whether LA's experience […]
Before Ferguson, it seemed a puzzle. Since the early 1990s, crime in the United States had fallen sharply. Yet public opinions of the police had not improved. Minorities in particular continued to take a critical view of police trustworthiness and fairness, despite the fact that minority communities benefited most from the crime decline. What, asked the small number of police officers and academics who puzzled over such things, was going on? Post-Ferguson, minority skepticism seems a lot less puzzling. Increased […]