Los Angeles County Supervisors Janice Hahn and Mark Ridley-Thomas are asking that Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and the county’s 46 local police departments, including the Long Beach Police Department, to adopt eight changes to the Use of Force policies in the county.
“The people are demanding change,” Supervisor Janice Hahn said. “These are eight steps that can be taken right now by all of our law enforcement departments that are proven effective in reducing the number of people killed by police and sheriff’s deputies. Most of the police departments in LA County have already implemented one or two of these policies, but no one has implemented all eight. I am calling on our Sheriff and all of our local police chiefs to update their use of force policies to include these important restrictions to use of force. We cannot wait any longer.”
The advocacy group Campaign Zero, led by DeRay Mckesson, Samuel Sinyangwe and Brittany N. Packnett Cunningham, developed the eight policies to end police brutality based on research the group has published on police practices.
Hahn and Ridley-Thomas filed a motion on Thursday, June 4 recommending that LASD and the 46 local police departments review their current use of force policies and modify them to include the following eight policies developed by Campaign Zero:
-Officers would be required to intervene to stop another officer from using excessive force
-Limiting or eliminating the use of chokeholds, strangleholds and carotid restraints by officers
-Requiring officers to try de-escalating situations before using force, whenever possible
-Establishing a Force Continuum or Matrix that defines and limits the specific types of force that can be used to respond to specific types of resistance
-Requiring officers to give a verbal warning before resorting to deadly force
-Prohibit officers from shooting at people in moving vehicles unless the person poses a deadly threat, other than the vehicle
-Requiring officers to try every other reasonable alternative to apprehend someone before resorting to using deadly force
-Mandatory comprehensive police reporting that includes both uses of force and threats of force
A 2016 study by Campaign Zero found that all eight policies were associated with an average 15% drop in police killings by department. Reductions in police killings were most noticeable in departments that adopted more than four of the policies.
Officers belonging to police departments that use restrictive use of force policies are assaulted less often, and were less likely to be killed in the line of duty.
No police departments in Los Angeles County currently use all eight of these policies.
Current police policy issues in the county include LASD not providing training for, yet allowing the use of chokeholds, strangleholds, carotid restraints, and the knee-on-neck hold that killed George Floyd.
Neither LASD or the Los Angeles Police Department require officers to report when they threaten to use force on people, despite this reform being highly associated with less police killings.
The Civilian Oversight Commission of the Sheriff’s Department has formed an Ad Hoc Committee that has been reviewing and analyzing the Sheriff’s use of force policies during the last few months to develop ways to strengthen them.
The Civilian Oversight Commission is expected to give its recommendations in the next few weeks.
Hahn and Ridley-Thomas’ also asked the Civilian Oversight Commission to report back to the Board of Supervisors within 15 days with their recommendations on modifying LASD’s use of force policies.
“The killing of George Floyd once again exposes the harsh reality that the African-American community has to endure in our country. We will not accept this injustice,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “I believe that the eight reforms identified by Campaign Zero in this motion give us specific and clear changes to reduce the use of force by law enforcement that has resulted in this senseless violence. I urge dozens of police agencies in the County to adopt the policies immediately.”