Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Los Angeles police union issues statement

Los Angeles Police Protective League President Tyler Izen issued the following statement regarding the Ezell Ford incident:

“Increasingly, in the immediate aftermath of any police shooting, unvetted statements by persons claiming to be witnesses are given prominent play. While a factual investigation unfolds at a deliberate and slower pace, an inaccurate narrative can be created before the actual facts are determined. The Ezell Ford incident on August 11, 2014, in Newton Area is no exception, as we have read and viewed some inaccurate reports of what occurred.”

“It is critically important, both for the LAPD and the community to establish what actually happened. The LAPPL reminds everyone that it is necessary for a thorough and transparent investigation to take place so the final conclusion is trustworthy and can withstand critical scrutiny—and that will take time. This thorough and complete investigation is being conducted by Force Investigation Division. The Inspector General and the district attorney monitor the investigation and ensure that it is complete and unbiased. The preliminary facts, according to LAPD officials, are that two LAPD officers assigned to the Gang Enforcement Detail in Newton Area stopped Ezell Ford at about 8:10 p.m. as he walked on a sidewalk near 65th Street and Broadway in South Los Angeles. A violent struggle ensued, and Ford grabbed one of the officers and tried to remove the officer’s handgun from its holster, prompting a deadly use of force.”

“It goes without saying that no officer ever comes to work with the intention of taking a human life. However, when forced to make split-second, life-or-death decisions under stressful situations, officers rely on their training and what the law allows when using deadly force.”

“LAPD officers’ use of force is concise, consistent with prevailing law, and based on best police practices. Officers are permitted to use force that is objectively reasonable to defend themselves or others, to effect an arrest or detention, and/or to prevent escape or overcome resistance. Officers are taught to evaluate a suspect’s behavior, the severity of the crime a suspect is committing or about to commit, and whether it is reasonable to conclude that the suspect’s behavior might cause serious injury to an officer or another person.”

“If a suspect’s behavior is likely to cause serious bodily injury or death, an officer can, by law and under LAPD policy, use deadly force. In using deadly force, officers can fire their weapons only to stop deadly threats to keep themselves and the public safe, and can continue to fire until the threat has ended.”

“The objectively reasonable standard was established by the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court case of Graham v. Connor. The court ruled an officer’s response must be evaluated by whether it was ‘objectively reasonable’ in light of what the officer knew at the time force was used. The ‘objective’ factor means the decision to use force is judged by what a reasonable officer, knowing the same facts, would have done. Importantly, the court then wrote the ‘20/20 vision of hindsight’ should not drive the determination. Further, “the calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments—in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving—about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.”

“Reaching a final conclusion about what happened in the Newton incident is simply a rush to judgment. All of the facts are simply not known with certainty. Interviews with the involved officers, witnesses, and examination of the physical evidence will determine what happened. A judgment as to whether the action was proper and in policy, based on those gathered facts, will be made without 20/20 hindsight as mandated by the Supreme Court. An investigation into the use of deadly force is the most exhaustive type of examination the LAPD performs.”

h/t Jasmyne Cannick

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