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Governor digs California deeper into public safety crisis

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 06/22/2016 @ 11:11 AM

The adage goes, “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” It’s wise advice that our governor should heed. This November, Governor Jerry Brown is asking California voters to dig ourselves deeper and deeper into a public safety crisis.

A pair of laws passed by the California Legislature and California voters has wreaked havoc on public safety in communities across the state. AB 109, signed into law by Governor Brown in 2011, pushed more inmates from our state prison system into our county jails, creating pressure for overcrowding in those facilities and earlier releases. Proposition 47, passed by California voters in 2012, released more prison inmates into our neighborhoods and reduced multiple felony crimes to misdemeanors.

The impact? We have more felons on our streets who now know they have almost free rein when it comes to committing crimes. The proof is in the numbers. Violent crime in Los Angeles is up 47.7 percent since 2014. Property crime is up 17.5 percent, auto theft is up 37.8 percent, burglary theft from vehicles are up 27.5 percent over that same time period. Are the “reform” laws promulgated by Governor Brown solely to blame for these devastating impacts on our neighborhoods? No. But ask any cop on patrol or your neighbor who has had their car broken into and they’ll tell you from personal experience that the new laws are a major contributor to the problem.

The public safety hole we find ourselves in is a mile deep and Governor Brown wants to keep digging. The governor has qualified an initiative for the November ballot that will make state prisoners eligible for parole after only serving a small portion of their sentences. This will be true even if the prisoner was convicted for crimes such as assault with a deadly weapon, human trafficking and manslaughter as reported by Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee. It’s absurd.

How high does crime have to rise for politicians to get the message that enough is enough?

Of course, if we were to dump more criminals on our streets, there will be funds to help cities mitigate the damages, right? Of course not. There is no funding attached to increase our police forces in California to ensure the thousands and thousands of convicted criminals free to roam our streets do not reoffend. So police departments like LAPD and Los Angeles residents are stranded alone to figure out how to compassionately deal with a homeless crisis, rising gang activity, and a surge of street criminals who know they won’t be arrested as long as they only rip you off for less than a $1,000.

You may choose to believe that the governor had the best of intentions when signing AB 109 and pushing for Proposition 47. The experiment is over and it failed our communities miserably. He knows exactly what will happen if he cons voters into supporting his latest attack on our safety.

Governor Brown, put down the shovel. California’s hole is deep enough.

We invite you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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Join the effort to reform California’s death penalty

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 04/21/2016 @ 03:03 PM

Voters have the opportunity to reform California’s death penalty, but it will take your action now. A broad coalition of law enforcement officers, prosecutors, crime victim advocates and community leaders have come together to fix our broken death penalty system. An initiative titled “California Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016” is currently being circulated for the November ballot; it needs your signature, and the campaign needs your financial support.

California’s death penalty has become ineffective because of waste, delays and inefficiencies. Fixing it will save taxpayers millions of dollars every year, assure due process protections for those sentenced to death, and provide justice for murder victims and their families. In California, death row inmates have murdered over 1,000 victims, including 226 children and 43 police officers; 294 victims were raped and/or tortured prior to being murdered. It’s time California reformed our death penalty process so it works.

This initiative will ensure justice for both victims and defendants by:

  • Expanding the pool of available defense attorneys.
  • Requiring that a defendant who is sentenced to death is appointed a lawyer at the time of sentence, rather than waiting for years just to get a lawyer.
  • Allowing the Department of Corrections to house condemned inmates in less costly housing with fewer special privileges.
  • Requiring that condemned inmates work and pay restitution to victims.
  • Allowing CDCR to enact an execution protocol without having to reply to every question or suggestion by any citizen who sends them a letter.
  • Giving the California Supreme Court oversight over the state agency that manages death penalty appeals.

In order to fix the death penalty, the California Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016 must first qualify for the ballot by obtaining over 365,000 valid signatures of registered voters. You can request to have a petition sent to you by clicking here. In addition to submitting enough signatures for the initiative to be placed on the ballot, a campaign must be waged to pass the initiative, and in California, that’s expensive. Please consider making a secure donation of any amount to fix our broken death penalty by clicking here.

California’s death row includes serial killers, cop killers, child killers, mass murderers, and hate crime killers. The death penalty system is broken, but it can and should be fixed. Join your fellow law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and families of crime victims to bring justice to convicted killers. To get more information on how you can fix California’s death penalty, please visit www.deathpenaltyreform.com.

We invite you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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Commissioner Johnson should walk a mile in a cop’s shoes

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 04/14/2016 @ 04:14 PM

Apparently, Police Commission President Matt Johnson is unfamiliar with the adage “Don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” Mr. Johnson’s misguided proposal to change the Los Angeles Police Department’s Use of Force Policy was created in a vacuum. As far as we know, he never sought input from the men and women who patrol our streets, the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL), officers who have discharged their weapons, or experts with experience in tactical law enforcement situations.

Four months into his term on the Commission, with no law enforcement training background whatsoever, Mr. Johnson formulated his proposal behind closed doors and announced it with a media splash under the guise of attempting to de-escalate potential use of force incidents. That’s a worthy goal, but unfortunately, by creating this policy change in secret, Mr. Johnson shut out any voices advocating for officer safety. He also failed to evaluate and include real-life quantifiable facts and data to ensure that his policy change protects the lives of police officers and innocent citizens, whose lives also matter.

Mr. Johnson and other ill-informed individuals and organizations actually believe that police officers who find themselves in dangerous situations where they must deploy their weapon have nothing but time on their hands. This belief is not based on facts, data, or science. To introduce an additional mental checklist of items that an officer must run through, while making split-second decisions and navigating volatile and violent confrontations, will result in dead officers. Period.

Mr. Johnson and his Inspector General, Alexander Bustamante, were not interested in learning of the real-world experiences LAPD officers confront each day. They were intent on chasing headlines instead of honestly evaluating the effectiveness of the current policy. They provided zero information as to why the current policy, a policy that took four years of in-depth scrutiny and analysis to develop, should be changed. The current policy was developed by former Chief William Bratton and was based on national best practices, and it is working. If Mr. Johnson and Mr. Bustamante would have utilized “best practices” on how best to solve a problem, they would have come to the same conclusion the LAPPL has come to, that the current use of force policy is not in need of change.

Unfortunately, the process utilized to rush through changes to the current policy did not follow a systematic “best practice” approach to problem solving that calls for:

  1. Decision-making based on data, rather than hunches.
  2. Determining root causes of problems, rather than reacting to superficial symptoms.
  3. Devising permanent solutions, rather than relying on quick fixes.

If Mr. Johnson and Mr. Bustamante were actually interested in reducing use of force incidents in a comprehensive manner, they would begin by evaluating the currently available data, instead of following hunches. Recently, the LAPD released a comprehensive report on the use of force among LAPD officers. The report confirms that the use of force by officers is extremely rare, and when officers were compelled to use force, they have increasingly used the “less lethal” options available to them.

In 2015, the LAPD had over 1.5 million contacts with the public. Of those contacts, only 0.13 percent resulted in the use of force. From 2014–2015, Taser use by officers increased by 24 percent, and the deployment of beanbag projectiles increased by 31 percent. The report compares 2011–2014 and concludes that baton strikes decreased 21 percent and the use of hand/foot strikes by officers declined by 35 percent.

Those reductions are a result of the current policy, which places an emphasis on training and improving the critical thinking skills of officers—as opposed to the checklist policing style advocated for by Mr. Johnson and Mr. Bustamante. The results of this comprehensive study should be celebrated, not ignored. There’s another set of numbers, however, that Mr. Johnson’s Police Commission are just not dealing with.

Of the 38 officer-involved shootings in 2015, 12 (31.5 percent) were “suicide by cop.” The number of those involving mentally ill suspects tripled, increasing from five in 2014, to 15 in 2015. And as it relates to officer safety, the number of officers injured last year during officer-involved shootings nearly tripled.

What this data really shows is that police officers are increasingly at risk. Yet despite that risk, officers are more and more choosing to deploy Tasers, beanbags and other less lethal options to de-escalate use of force situations.

In police work, seconds matter. The current proposal by the Police Commission fails to rely upon data to quantify just how much time an officer has when the decision to use lethal force is made. We see no reliance upon academic research, studies or live simulations to justify a change to the current policy, a policy that is working.

In fact, when recently invited by the LAPPL to participate in the LAPD’s Force Option Simulator training, Commission president, and entertainment lawyer, Mr. Johnson declined, stating that it would do him about as much good as it would LAPPL members to learn how to write contracts for Oprah Winfrey. Mr. Johnson not only refuses to walk a mile in our members’ shoes to better understand the split-second decisions he now wants to prolong; he refuses to even have his foot sized to try on the shoes.

If he were to find it within himself to learn more about the real-life dangers of policing, and how action versus reaction interacts with that danger, we believe a more thoughtful approach to de-escalating use of force incidents would emerge. This letter renews our invitation to participate in LAPD’s Force Option Simulator training.

To better understand the data supporting the danger of police work, we recommend the Police Commission read the abstract of a study published in 2011 titled “Reasonableness and Reaction Time,” which states:

“When the police use deadly force, their actions are judged by the reasonableness standard. This paper seeks to inform the reasonableness standard by examining the ability of police officers to respond to armed suspects. The results of a reaction time experiment are presented. In this experiment, police officers encountered a suspect armed with a gun, pointing down and not at the police officer. The police officer had his gun aimed at the suspect and ordered the suspect to drop the gun. The suspect then either surrendered or attempted to shoot the officer. The speed with which the officer fired if the suspect chose to shoot was assessed. Results suggest that the officers were generally not able to fire before the suspect (emphasis added). Implications for the reasonableness standard and policy are discussed.”

The study utilized a 10-by-10-foot taped square where an armed suspect was placed with either a handgun pointed down at their side or pointed at their head (in a manner threatening suicide). An officer was also placed in the taped square, had their handgun pointed at the suspect and gave verbal commands to the suspect to drop their weapon.

Despite the fact that the officer’s weapon was pointed at the suspect, the study’s abstract states: “Results suggest that the officers were generally not able to fire before the suspect. The average time it took for the suspect to fire at the officer was .38 seconds.” Remember that in this study the officer had their weapon pointed at the suspect and the suspect had their weapon pointed down at their side or at their head threatening suicide. How is it possible that “officers were generally not able to fire before the suspect?”

Page 13 of the “Reasonableness and Reaction Time” study reveals the reason why:

“In tactical policing circles, this is referred to as the OODA loop (Howe, 2005). OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. In the meantime, the suspect has already assessed the situation, decided on a course of action, and must only complete the act of firing. In OODA loop terminology, the officer must negotiate the entire loop more quickly than the suspect executes the action portion of the loop if the officer is to win the encounter. This is why it is commonly argued that ‘action is always faster than reaction’ (Honig and Lewinsky, 2008, p. 141).”

Mr. Johnson’s proposal to change the use of force policy effectively establishes additional steps into the current OODA process that officers must manage to render a decision on whether or not to use force. Under Mr. Johnson’s unscientific hunch approach, OODA would become OOCSGDA; Observe, Orient, Checklist, Second Guess, Decide and Act.

As the “Reasonableness and Reaction Time” study demonstrates, a suspect, armed or not, intent on doing harm has already concluded the three steps of the OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide) prior to acting. An officer must navigate those three steps and the additional step of Act after the suspect has decided to act, and that places the officer at a distinct disadvantage. Add the extra steps Mr. Johnson proposes, and officers are further disadvantaged.

An additional contributing factor to use of force incidents that must be addressed is the level of fatigue officers face when a police department is understaffed. The LAPD is in the midst of a staffing crisis. This equates to officers running from call to call to call during their shift and having their time off requests denied because of understaffing.

Studies have shown that tired officers have a higher likelihood of making a mistake, of having a negative experience with the public and having their decisions impaired due to fatigue. Fatigue could lead to additional use of force instances; thus, reducing fatigue and ensuring police officers are provided a substantial health and wellness program could reduce use of force incidents.

The Police Commission has not addressed the LAPD’s understaffing crisis, and thus is not addressing one of the potential root causes contributing to the very issue they are attempting to address. Avoiding a potential root cause of an issue one is attempting to ameliorate is contrary to problem-solving best practices.

The Department is unable on a daily basis to meet the minimum number of “Basic Cars” that should be deployed in our neighborhoods to keep our community safe. As crime continues to skyrocket, the Department is in need of a Community Policing Reset. Proposition 47 has turned many violent habitual offenders back onto our streets. The LAPD has become the designated first responder to calls from residents who are struggling to cope with L.A.’s severe homelessness crisis and with the severely mentally ill who are going untreated and unassisted.

Mr. Johnson’s proposed solution does nothing to provide comprehensive mental health and crisis intervention training to bolster officers’ skill sets when it comes to managing suspects or other individuals with mental health issues.

There’s no proposal by Mr. Johnson to improve officer safety. No proposal to address the staffing crisis. No plan to help the LAPD handle the deluge of felons dumped onto our streets. Zero. There is, however, a whole lot of rhetoric and political window dressing. While that might be good for someone’s political career, it wreaks havoc on public safety.

Mr. Johnson comes from the entertainment world, where make believe and fiction are his industry’s cornerstones. We’re cops, we live in the real world where life and death decisions are made in split seconds. We hope that he can find the time to walk a mile in our shoes before completing his audition for the role of police tactician where his decisions have real-life implications on whether or not we make it home at our EOW.

We invite you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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Everyone’s privacy is important, including police officers’

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 03/08/2016 @ 08:59 AM

Some misguided politicians and anti-cop activist groups are pushing a proposed new law, SB 1286, authored by State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), to strip away the privacy protections from California police officers, sheriffs’ and highway patrolmen, which has been in place for almost 40 years. Why? Because they think providing confidential information contained in an officer’s personnel file will increase trust between the community and law enforcement. It’s nonsense and the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) is opposed and will fight this dangerous proposal.

Senator Leno’s bill is a solution in search of a problem. Currently, police officers are held accountable in California when they violate their respective department’s policies or the law. In Los Angeles, the civilian Police Commission reviews incidents where officers use force and determines if that force was within policy. Also in Los Angeles, a civilian representative sits on the Police Department’s “Board of Rights” disciplinary panel. This panel holds police officers accountable when found guilty of violating Department policy. Lastly, any police officer who is accused of committing a criminal act, working as a police officer, faces potential criminal prosecution with an enhanced charge known as “under the color of authority.”

SB 1286 will not hold more police officers “accountable.” It will not make punishments for breaking the law under the color of authority sterner. It certainly will not do anything to satisfy the concerns of vocal anti-police activists.

So what will SB 1286 do? It will make trial attorneys a whole lot of money as they seek every bit of information contained in a police officer’s personnel file so they can inflate the amount they seek to settle litigation against public agencies. It will make it easier for activist groups to cherry-pick and sensationalize information in an officer’s personnel file to add fuel to political fires. It will invade the privacy rights that virtually every other employee is guaranteed by the State and Federal Constitution. Building trust is the last thing this ill-conceived bill will do.

SB 1286 is a dishonest and dangerous attempt to kowtow to vocal anti-cop activists. Activists that apparently only protest when there is an officer-involved shooting or use-of-force incident. We didn’t see extended protests when one-year old Autumn Johnson was gunned down in her crib in Compton. Cars were not set on fire and rioting did not occur when Maria Cordova, an expecting mother, was murdered in Boyle Heights. Last week, the LAPD informed us that over a 14-day period there were 14 homicides, 104 shootings and 53 gunshot victims. Violent crime was up 12.2 percent year-to-date. That’s over last year’s already escalated rate. Where is the outrage over these incidents?

The bill’s supporters wrongly lump all Californians into the same category as the most vocal activists in terms of lack of trust in law enforcement. Don’t believe the hype. The reality is that everyday we see firsthand the support we have in the communities we patrol. What residents want, quite simply, is to be safe in their neighborhoods and have the police respond as quickly and effectively as possible when needed.

What’s ironic is that many of the same activists pushing SB 1286 are simultaneously waging a national battle to protect the privacy of the mass shooter from San Bernardino. Yes, let anyone from the public access a police officer’s private personnel file, but do not let our counterterrorism experts access a terrorist’s iPhone. SB 1286 is a solution in search of a problem.

We invite you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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Help Keep a Convicted Cop Killer Behind Bars

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 02/29/2016 @ 03:54 PM

LAPD Officer Daniel Pratt

Keeping our communities safe should be our top priority, and that must include the safety of Los Angeles police officers. Convicted cop murderer Raylene Brooks CDC #W40103 is once again up for parole and we need your help to keep this killer behind bars.

Please email the Parole Board and tell them to keep Raylene Brooks CDC #W40103 behind bars. Please send letters opposing this parole to:

Board of Parole Hearings
Attn: Pre-Hearing Correspondence
Post Office Box 4036
Sacramento, CA 95812-4036

The Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) has sent letters of opposition to the California Department of Corrections Board of Parole Hearings, but we need everyone to speak out. This vicious murderer has not yet fully paid her debt to society and should serve the maximum term of her sentence. We must send a clear message that the murder of peace officers is unacceptable and all who are found guilty must be dealt the harshest possible punishment under the law.

On the night of September 3, 1988, Officer Daniel Pratt and his partner, Officer Veronica Delao Jenkins, were undercover in South Los Angeles when they heard what they thought was gunfire. They then encountered the headlights of the car that, just minutes before, had been involved in a gang-related drive-by shooting, leaving three people wounded. Upon pursuit, Brooks made an abrupt U-turn and headed toward the officers. Brooks’ then boyfriend, Kirkton Moore, opened fire on Officer Pratt, striking and killing him instantly. As the driver of the car involved in the shooting, Brooks was convicted of first-degree murder of a peace officer.

Officer Pratt is survived by his wife, Andria; daughters, Amanda and Heather; and sons, Danny Jr. and Nicholas. Also surviving him are his parents, Joyce and Roy Pratt Sr., four brothers, three sisters, and a host of other loved ones.

We must come together, law enforcement and community, and send a clear message that we will never forget the murder of a peace officer, no matter how much time has passed. As we did in our letter, so we ask you to tell the Parole Board that Brooks must not be granted parole and that we expect her to receive the harshest possible punishment under the law.

Brooks’ parole hearing date is on May 16, 2016, so we’re asking for your help to keep public safety first and protest the parole for this convicted murderer. Please send your letters to the Parole Board opposing parole for Raylene Brooks, inmate CDC #W40103 to:

Board of Parole Hearings
Attn: Pre-Hearing Correspondence
Post Office Box 4036
Sacramento, CA 95812-4036

You can also email the Board of Parole Hearings at BPH.CorrespondenceUnit@cdcr.ca.gov.

Please note that your letters and/or emails must be received two weeks prior for the Parole Board to consider them, so please send your letters soon.

Make your voices heard and prevent these hardened murderers from being released back into society.

We will never forget.

We invite you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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Chief Beck Squashes Dissent

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 02/15/2016 @ 01:11 PM

There has been much speculation about the recent NBC4 Investigative story about the Metro Unit that aired this past Friday evening. The speculation has swirled around whether the officers depicted in the story should have gone public with their concerns over a lack of training and equipment for the mission they have been assigned and over the identity of the officers.

Let us state for the record, we don’t care who the officers are. What we care about is what they said. What we care about is the culture created in our department that would compel any officer to go public with these serious concerns for fear that their concerns would fall on deaf ears or fear retaliation for expressing their concerns.

We watched the story and waited for Chief Beck to say, “These are serious concerns and any time an officer in my command feels the department has fallen short in ensuring they have the training and equipment to keep them safe I am going to make sure I rectify the problem.” But that’s not what Chief Beck said.

Or Chief Beck could have said, “I am going to look into these accusations and if they are true I am going to hold folks accountable and I will get these officers the training and equipment they need. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.” But he didn’t say that either.

The story showed Chief Beck exhibiting a cavalier attitude about officers expressing a desire for more training and safety equipment, such as body armor. The Chief’s solution, bring me your concerns and I will re-assign you. Talk about a chilling effect on anyone wanting to improve the department or protect the public.

An inclusive and collaborative leader should reward those willing to get out of their lane and identify problems before they get worse, a leader should welcome information to improve the likelihood of police officers making it home at their EOW.

Chief Beck sent the wrong message. Period.

The command staff is scurrying around trying to figure out who went on camera instead of scurrying through the Metropolitan Division to determine if they did all they could to equip and train those they send into harm’s way.

The League will act on the information revealed in the NBC story and we are saddened that it took a news story to expose the culture created by some in the command staff that would rather have everyone just go along to get along.

The League also stands ready to work with the department, city elected officials, and the officers of the Metropolitan Division to ensure they are equipped and trained to do their jobs as safely as possible. We owe it to them to advocate for immediate changes. The League will also work toward a cultural shift within our department, one that welcomes criticism, encourages differing points of view and fosters an environment where speaking up to improve our operations is celebrated.

We invite you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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Help keep deputy killer behind bars

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 02/03/2016 @ 10:00 AM

Convicted murderer Kien Vinh Ly CDCR# E57469, who killed Los Angeles County Marshal Henry Wong on September 2, 1988, is up for parole and we need your help to keep this killer behind bars. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Board of Parole is considering advancing his parole hearing to an earlier date.

Please email BPH.CorrespondenceUnit@cdcr.ca.gov and tell the Board of Parole Hearings to keep Kien Vinh Ly CDCR# E57469 behind bars. You must act by Sunday, February 7, 2016.

Deputy Wong’s surviving widow and brother, along with the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL), vehemently oppose the release of Kien Vinh Ly. We implore the Board of Parole Hearings to keep this brutal killer behind bars for his heinous act of violence.

The LAPPL, which represents nearly 10,000 rank-and-file officers of the LAPD, is strongly opposed to the release of deputy killer Kien Vinh Ly. Deputy Wong was working off-duty as a security guard at an Alhambra restaurant when he was confronted by Ly and ordered Ly out of the restaurant for creating a disturbance and threatening patrons. As the restaurant was closing just before 2 a.m., Ly returned and shot Wong in the head. Deputy Wong was the first deputy county marshal to be shot to death on or off-duty in the history of the Los Angeles County Marshal’s Department.

Please do your part and help block the release of this murderer. Killing or attempted killing of a law enforcement officer is the ultimate violation of public safety and should result in the forfeiture of the assailant’s freedom for life.

You can email the Board of Parole Hearings at BPH.CorrespondenceUnit@cdcr.ca.gov or mail a letter to:

Attn: Administrative Review
Board of Parole Hearings
Pre-Hearing Analysis Unit
Post Box 4036
Sacramento, CA 95812-4036

We only have until Sunday, February 7, 2016 to email or send letters to the Board of Parole Hearings. Please act quickly.

We invite you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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Why Chief Beck failed us

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 01/13/2016 @ 04:34 PM

Impartial. Unbiased. Fair. Chief Charlie Beck clearly forgot the meaning of those words. Those words should guide every investigation conducted by a law enforcement agency or a District Attorney’s Office. Whether it’s an investigation of an officer-involved shooting or an investigation of a resident who is accused of committing a crime, all parties, including the community we serve, deserve an impartial, unbiased and fair review of all the facts and evidence. Period.

On Monday, Chief Beck chose to put politics above fairness by shouting from the rooftops to every media outlet in the nation that the District Attorney should file criminal charges against LAPD Officer Clifford Proctor.

This is not standard procedure. This is not how this Chief has conducted himself in the past on previous officer-involved shootings. Attempting to unduly influence the elected District Attorney’s independent investigation and her decision is wrong.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League does not know if Officer Proctor’s use of force was justified or what was in his mind at the time or leading up to the incident in question. We do not have access to the evidence in this case. But that, however, is not the point. Everyone deserves to have his or her fate determined by a fair and complete investigation. Everyone.

On Monday, the LAPPL issued the following statement to the media regarding Chief Beck’s actions, and we stand by it:

"When an officer feels compelled to discharge their weapon in the line-of-duty, it warrants a thorough and complete investigation, especially when a life is lost. In all officer-involved shootings, the District Attorney’s Office closely monitors the investigation. DA investigators are on scene immediately following an incident. The DA then makes an independent decision based on the facts as to whether or not a prosecution is warranted.

Chief Beck should stop trying to unduly influence the outcome of this decision, or compromise its objectivity in any manner. It's unfortunate that Chief Beck has chosen to politically grandstand in the media instead of allowing this process to conclude and the District Attorney to make her independent decision. As such, we encourage facts, and not Chief Beck’s rhetoric, to be what guides the District Attorney’s ultimate decision on this matter."

In the past, when Chief Beck felt that an officer shouldn’t be charged following an investigation, he did not go public before the DA’s Office completed their review. What changed?

Chief Beck is very media savvy. He made a political calculation. He knew that by going public, he could effectively wash his hands of the matter. While that may demonstrate political expediency, it does not demonstrate leadership. Leadership means that sometimes you have to do the unpopular thing in order to do the right thing.

There’s a misconception that police officers expect their chiefs to back them no matter what the facts may show. Nothing could be further from the truth. What police officers expect, however, is that while we are doing a job that is inherently dangerous, our leaders ensure that we are treated fairly if we are ever accused of doing something wrong.

Chief Beck failed us all.

We invite you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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