LAPD Detective 1200: Cleaning Up (Series 1)

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Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD: By the early s the population of the City had increased to more than ,, with fewer than 70 officers struggling to maintain the peace. They were largely occupied in keeping violence and traffic under some semblance of control but an additional problem added to their difficulties. Heavy-handed machine politics had entered the picture and would remain for years to come. This accounts, at least in part, for the appointment of 16 Chiefs between and Political interference, however, did not prevent the start of Civil Service in , and, in response to citizen demands, the increase in sworn personnel to After serving as interim Police Chief for about one year, Walter H.

Auble resumed duties as Captain of Detectives when, in September , he was shot and killed by a burglary suspect. He became the third and highest ranking officer to lose his life in the line of duty. The nation, by , was well under way to becoming industrialized with labor and management battling each other for dominance. Its workers had embarked on a prolonged strike and international news was created when, on October 1, the Times building was dynamited, causing 21 deaths. Two union organizers were convicted and imprisoned after being defended by the celebrated attorney, Clarence Darrow.

After heading the Department from to , Charles E. Sebastian became the first Chief to be elected Mayor, partly because of his vigorous crusade against vice. If he is remembered for nothing else, Chief Clarence E. Snively, successor to Sebastian in , recognized the menace of cigarette smoking. His "Anti-Cigarette Clinic" tried to influence juveniles to shun the habit.

Snively contended that "…the use of cigarettes by children is a great cause of delinquency. The nicotine poison which enters the body… has a tendency to make weak bodies, weak intellects and weak morals. But a year later, both the Clinic and its founder were gone. Striking workers were labeled as "Reds" and were warned they were subject to arrest for subversion.

The Department lost 15 percent of its sworn personnel to the armed forces. A videotape was made of one of the project's training sessions for use by other groups outside the Bay Area. The project also publishes wallet-size cards in English, Spanish and Chinese that inform citizens about what to do or say in encounters with the police. These cards have been widely distributed in the community. One card-holder reported that he pulled out his card when confronted by a police officer, only to have the officer reach into his wallet and pull out his own copy of the same card!

You can download a copy to print out below. The project believes that individual citizens and community groups become informed about police policies just by participating in the preparation of educational materials and training sessions. That participation also fosters awareness about particular areas of police practice that need reform. Most important, education empowers even the most disenfranchised people and helps deter the police from treating them abusively. The time is August ; the place, New York City. Manhattan's Lower East Side is rocked by one of the most serious outbreaks of police violence in years.

Declaring a curfew, the police begin to eject homeless people and their supporters from Tompkins Square Park. Fifty-two people, most of them innocent bystanders, sustain serious injuries at the hands of the police in the ensuing violence. Much of the violence is recorded on video. Yet the officers who are guilty of misconduct go virtually unpunished; only one receives more than a day suspension from the force. Although it was established in the early s and gradually strengthened over the years, the CCRB is still criticized for its lack of independence and secretive proceedings.

Half of its 12 members are appointed by the mayor, the other half by the police commissioner. Most of the CCRB's investigators are police officers. The goal of the campaign is the establishment of a new, all-civilian CCRB that will be totally independent of the police department. During , the campaign calls on the city's community boards to pass resolutions in support of "a real CCRB. Campaign spokespeople debate police department representatives before some 30 community boards throughout the city, and 19 boards pass resolutions calling for revisions of the present system see box below.

Each board that passes a resolution becomes a member of the campaign coalition. Coalition members set up tables at street fairs and other community events to collect signatures on petitions for "a real CCRB. The bill is endorsed by 14 Council members and is adopted.

Whereas, many New Yorkers are concerned about the independence and effectiveness of the present Civilian Complaint Review Board; and. Whereas, with the proposed hiring of 9, new police officers, unfortunately, there may be a wider possibility of alleged police abuse; and. Whereas, if alleged police abuse has been charged, New Yorkers should have an effective government review agency that will render fair and full investigation and hearing of their allegations without pressure from the Police Department now, therefore, be it.

Resolved, that the new board should have investigators and board members that are civilians with no allegiances to the Police Department and should have the power to subpoena witnesses to insure cooperation from the police officers or other concerned individuals. It should hold regular public hearings and maintain procedural safeguards to protect the rights of civilians and police officers. It should have expanded jurisdiction that includes all police and peace officers employed by the City and quasi-city agencies; and in adopting this resolution we are following the lead of Community Boards 4, 11 and Their proposed legislation includes the following —.

Although the proposal has not yet been adopted, ACLU lobbyists have waged a largely successful battle against a flood of dangerous bills introduced into the California Legislature by police lobbyists. In the process, the ACLU has learned that an informed presence in state legislatures is essential to counteracting well-funded and influential police lobbies that sometimes oppose or undercut reform efforts. Thank you for contacting the ACLU. Your information is very important to us in our effort to monitor police abuse in your community.

If you have been a victim of police misconduct and wish to pursue the matter in any manner, you should first contact an attorney to advise you. Nothing that is written in these tips is intended to constitute legal advice, which can only come from an attorney experienced in this area of law. The number of the referral service is If you believe you have been the victim of police abuse or misconduct and would like to take action, some of the possible options are —. You may want to try one or more of these options to vindicate your rights. An attorney can help you decide among these options by explaining what is involved with each, and we urge you to consult one before proceeding.

If you decide to pursue your claim you must take action quickly because the law imposes severe time limits for nearly every option listed above. If you do not comply with those time limits you will lose your right to take any action. Once again, an attorney experienced in this area of law can advise you regarding the time limits and your rights with respect to them. Keep your eye on the big picture.

On the one hand, each individual reform is only one step on a long road to correcting the deeply entrenched problem of police misconduct; on the other hand, important and genuine reforms can be won. A well-organized, focused campaign against police abuse can draw broad community support. The key is to transform that support into realistic demands and develop strategies that turn those demands into concrete reforms. We hope the information and advice contained in this manual inspires and equips your community to effectively tackle the problem of police misconduct from the grass roots up.

Reform of police practices is in the best interests of every American, including the men and women in blue. American Civil Liberties Union. New York. April Case studies and recommendations for local and federal remedies. The Call for Change Goes Unanswered. March A year after Rodney King beating, this study, based on original research, reveals that there has been little improvement in the responsiveness of the LA Police Department to citizen complaints. Original research establishes that pepper spray can be fatal, and ACLU makes recommendations to avoid further tragedies.

ACLU of Washington. August Critique of Seattle Police Department's handling of civilian complaints and recommendation that an independent civilian review board be established. Describes events leading up to city's adoption of law that limits police surveillance of citizens. American Friends Service Committee. The Police Threat to Political Liberty. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Comprehensive report on police spying, with separate chapters on Seattle, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Jackson, Mississippi.

Bouza, Anthony. Plenum Press. The author, retired police chief of Minneapolis and long considered an innovative thinker, analyzes what's wrong with American policing. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Criminal Victimization in the United States , Government Printing Office. Washington, D. National crime survey published annually by U.

Department of Justice. Chevigny, Paul. Human Rights Watch. Review of potential federal remedies for police misconduct. Published in response to the Rodney King incident. Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. Standards for Law Enforcement Agencies. These official standards for police departments are the bare minimum. Revised regularly. Committee on the Judiciary of the U. Comprehensive survey of state open records laws. Compendium of International Civilian Oversight Agencies.

Evanston, Illinois. Summaries and excerpts of materials on selected civilian review systems. Includes chart that compares systems. Quarterly newsletter published by community-based, volunteer organization that monitors police activity. Couper, David C. Police Executive Research Forum, Brochure that examines the issues of leadership, policy and organizational characteristics of police agencies. Useful because it goes beyond such traditional methods of evaluating police departments as the crime rate, number of arrests, clearance rate, ratio of officers to citizens and response time.

Donner, Frank. University of California Press. Epic study of police role in suppressing grass roots social protest. Fyfe, James J. The first and still the most important study of the impact of restrictive shooting policies on police use of deadly force. Geller, William A. An important, very informative work about the use of deadly force by police officers. Goldman, Roger and Puro, Steven. The authors, based in St. Louis, are the nation's leading experts on police decertification.

Goldstein, Herman. Problem-Oriented Policing. The most important new concept in policing discussed by one of its creators. Matulia, Kenneth J. Second edition.

International Association of Chiefs of Police. Gaithersburg, Maryland. Presents comparative data on use of deadly force. Minneapolis, Minnesota. September Report to Mayor and City Council by special committee formed to propose specific structure for a new civilian review system. Analysis and evaluation of competing arguments regarding authority and role of civilian review. New York Civil Liberties Union. Pate, Anthony and Edwin E. Police Foundation, Uses statistical analysis to compare departments' performance in many areas — firearm discharges; citizen complaints; race, gender and other characteristics of personnel; expenditures per citizen; recruitment, selection and entry requirements; salaries and benefits.

Reiss, Albert J. The Police and the Public. Yale University Press. New Haven, Connecticut. The most comprehensive sociological study of routine police work, based on direct observations. Los Angeles. July Includes recommendations for L. Ottawa, Canada. Extensive comparison charts on legislation that provides for Canadian civilian review systems. Updated periodically. Sherman, Lawrence W.

Crime Control Institute. Presents comparative data on police use of deadly force. The Quality of Police Arrest Statistics.

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The Police Foundation. Comparison study of how different police departments record arrests, and the impact different practices have on arrest statistics. Commission on Civil Rights. A comprehensive review of police misconduct with the most complete set of recommendations to be found anywhere. Walker, Samuel. XI, No 4 Model computerized tracking program for incidents of abuse. Organized and supported by law enforcement agencies. Publishes a set of accreditation standards. Membership consists primarily of staff members of local civilian review agencies.

Annual meeting. Periodically publishes a compendium of civilian review agencies. Box Gaithersburg, MD Primary professional association for chiefs of police. Traditionally dominated by chiefs from small town police departments. Does not represent all local unions. Promotes civil rights through litigation, lobbying and community organizing. Pleasant St. Resource for community groups working on police abuse issues.

Members include legal, advocacy, victims, minority police and religious organizations. Plans for annual conference, newsletter and other forms of networking. National Urban League E. Conducts research and management consulting. Issues position papers and policy statements on important issues in policing.

Police Foundation 22nd St. Involved in some of the most important research projects in policing since the s. Police Watch S. Some training for police abuse litigators. Data base on incidents of abuse in Southern California. Know your rights. For almost years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Email Print. But six years later, police abuse is still very much an American problem, as the following examples from three recent months demonstrate: In December , two men in two weeks died in handcuffs at the hands of the Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies in Florida. Lyndon Stark, 48, died of asphyxia in a cloud of pepper spray while handcuffed behind the back in a prone position. Several days earlier, Kevin Pruiksma, 27, died after being restrained by a sheriff's deputy.

DeSilva, who was unarmed, was suspected of driving a stolen car. In February , James Wilson, 37, an unarmed motorist, was kicked and punched by three Hartford, Connecticut police officers after a brief chase which ended in front of a Bloomfield, Connecticut police station. The beating was so severe that a group of Bloomfield police intervened to stop it. He was struck. The range of police problems includes — 1 Excessive use of deadly force. Data on citizen complaints are difficult to interpret. Some examples — In , it was widely reported that San Francisco, with less than 2, police officers, had more citizen complaints than Los Angeles, which has more than 8, officers.

What that may mean, however, is that Los Angeles residents are afraid to file reports or don't believe it would do any good. San Francisco has a relatively independent civilian review process, which may encourage the filing of more complaints. Also in , New York City reported a decline from previous years in the number of citizen complaints filed.

But many analysts believe that simply reflected New Yorkers' widespread disillusionment with their civilian review board. Citizen complaints filed in Omaha, Nebraska doubled after the mayor allowed people to file their complaints at City Hall, as well as at the police department.

Another problem is that in some police departments with internal affairs systems, officers often try to dissuade people from filing formal complaints that will later become part of an officer's file. And the number of complaints counted is also affected by whether or not the internal affairs system accepts anonymous complaints and complaints by phone or mail, or requires in-person, sworn statements. Do white officers shoot more often that black officers? Do young officers shoot more often than veteran officers? The police don't need more firepower.

There are several ways to proceed — As an organizing strategy, demand that the police department publish this data, identify repeat shooters and take appropriate remedial action counseling, retraining, formal discipline, transfer, etc. Alternatively, since it isn't essential that officers be identified by name, demand that they be identified simply by a code number, which can focus public attention on the problem of excessive shooters. Visit your local civilian review agency, if one exists. These agencies often have the authority to collect and release a range of information about local police conduct.

There are three potential sources of data on police use of physical force — Data developed by community residents. Community residents can make a significant contribution to documenting physical force abuses and, in the process, organize. They can bear witness to, and record, abuse incidents, take information from others who have witnessed incidents, refute police department arguments that there is no problem and help document the inadequacies of the police department's official complaint review process. Police Watch in Los Angeles compiles such data.

Check with your local ACLU to see if an organization in your community does the same. Formal complaints filed by citizens. Most police departments do not make this information public. Some publish summary data in their annual report, so consult that document. In a number of cities, civilian review agencies publish it, so check with that agency in your city. Internal police reports. An increasing number of police departments require officers to fill out reports after any use of physical force. This is a larger set of data than the citizen complaints would provide, since many citizens don't file complaints even when they have cause to do so.

Ask to see physical force reports. The three basic types of civilian review systems are — Type I. Persons who are not sworn officers conduct the initial fact-finding. They submit an investigative report to a non-officer or board of non-officers, who then make a recommendation for action to the police chief.

Common Law

This process is the most independent and most "civilian. Sworn officers conduct the initial fact-finding. They submit an investigative report to a non-officer or board of non-officers for a recommendation. Type III. Sworn officers conduct the initial fact-finding and make a recommendation to the police chief. If the aggrieved citizen is not satisfied with the chief's action on the complaint, he or she may appeal to a board that includes non-officers.

Obviously, this process is the least independent. Although the above are the most common, other types of civilian review systems also exist. Civilian review establishes the principle of police accountability. Strong evidence exists to show that a complaint review system encourages citizens to act on their grievances.

Even a weak civilian review process is far better than none at all.

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A civilian review agency can be an important source of information about police misconduct. A civilian agency is more likely to compile and publish data on patterns of misconduct, especially on officers with chronic problems, than is a police internal affairs agency. Civilian review can alert police administrators to the steps they must take to curb abuse in their departments. Many well-intentioned police officials have failed to act decisively against police brutality because internal investigations didn't provide them with the facts.

The power to conduct hearings, subpoena witnesses and report findings and recommendations to the public. Investigatory Power. The authority to independently investigate incidents and issue findings on complaints. Mandatory Police Cooperation. Complete access to police witnesses and documents through legal mandate or subpoena power. Adequate Funding. Should not be a lower budget priority than police internal affairs systems.

Essential for solving credibility questions and enhancing public confidence in process. Reflect Community Diversity. Board and staff should be broadly representative of the community it serves. Policy Recommendations. Civilian oversight can spot problem policies and provide a forum for developing reforms. Statistical Analysis. Public statistical reports can detail trends in allegations, and early warning systems can identify officers who are subjects of unusually numerous complaints.

Separate Offices. Should be housed away from police headquarters to maintain independence and credibility with public. Disciplinary Role. Board findings should be considered in determining appropriate disciplinary action. The existence of a civilian review agency, a reform in itself, can help ensure that other needed reforms are implemented. A police department can formulate model policies aimed at deterring and punishing misconduct, but those policies will be meaningless unless a system is in place to guarantee that the policies are aggressively enforced. Civilian review works , if only because it's at least a vast improvement over the police policing themselves.

Nearly all existing civilian review systems — reduce public reluctance to file complaints reduce procedural barriers to filing complaints enhance the likelihood that statistical reporting on complaints will be more complete enhance the likelihood of an independent review of abuse allegations foster confidence in complainants that they will get their "day in court" through the hearing process increase scrutiny of police policies that lead to citizen complaints increase opportunities for other reform efforts.

A campaign to establish a civilian review agency, or to strengthen an already existing agency, is an excellent vehicle for community organizing. In Indianapolis, for example, a civilian review campaign brought about not only the establishment of a civilian review agency, but an effective coalition between the Indiana ACLU, the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People NAACP and other community groups that could take future action on other issues. To meet goal 2, your community must — Ensure that the police department has a highly restrictive deadly force policy see sample policy.

Most big city departments do. But the national trend data on shootings suggest that medium-sized and small departments have not caught up with the big cities, so much remains to be done there. Much remains to be done as well in county sheriff and state police agencies, which have not been subject to the same scrutiny as big city police departments. Ensure enforcement of the deadly force policy through community monitoring. RULES — The policy stated above is the basis of the following set of rules that have been designed to guide officers in all cases involving the use of firearms — RULE 1 — Police officers shall not discharge their firearms except to protect themselves or another person from imminent death or serious bodily injury.

RULE 9 — Police officers shall not fire warning shots. The citizens of Houston have vested in their police officers the power to carry and use firearms in the exercise of their service to society. This power is based on trust and, therefore, must be balanced by a system of accountability.

The serious consequences of the use of firearms by police officers necessitate the specification of limits for officers' discretion; there is often no appeal from an officer's decision to use a firearm. Therefore, it is imperative that every effort be made to ensure that such use is not only legally warranted but also rational and humane.

The basic responsibility of police officers to protect life also requires that they exhaust all other reasonable means for apprehension and control before resorting to the use of firearms. Police officers are equipped with firearms as a means of last resort to protect themselves and others from the immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury.

Even though all officers must be prepared to use their firearms when necessary, the utmost restraint must be exercised in their use. Consequently, no officer will be disciplined for discharging a firearm in self-defense or in defense of another when faced with a situation that immediately threatens life or serious bodily injury. Just as important, no officer will be disciplined for not discharging a firearm if that discharge might threaten the life or safety of an innocent person, or if the discharge is not clearly warranted by the policy and rules of the department.

Above all, this department values the safety of its employees and the public.


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Likewise it believes that police officers should use firearms with a high degree of restraint. Officers' use of firearms, therefore, shall never be considered routine and is permissible only in defense of life and then only after all alternative means have been exhausted. This policy should have two parts — It should explicitly restrict physical force to the narrowest possible range of specific situations. For example, a policy on the use of batons should forbid police officers from striking citizens in "non-target" areas, such as the head and spine, where permanent injuries can result.

Mace should be used defensively, not offensively. The use of electronic stun guns should be strictly controlled and reviewed, since they have great potential for abuse because they don't leave scars or bruises. The policy should require that a police officer file a written report after any use of physical force, and that report should be automatically reviewed by high ranking officers. Called the Seattle Police Intelligence Ordinance, this law is a model for responsible police intelligence operations — "Restricted" information i. An independent civilian "auditor," appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city council, must review all police authorizations to collect restricted information and have access to all other police files.

The auditor must notify the police officers who are the subjects of the unlawful investigations if violations are found. Any individual subjected to unlawful surveillance can bring a civil action in court to stop the surveillance, and to collect damages from the city.

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If citizens in your community feel that this is an important issue — You should aim for a first-rate police academy curriculum. The curriculum should be near the high end of the current scale — hours or more. It should include a mix of classroom and supervised field training. It should include training in violence reduction techniques. In addition to being given weapons and taught how to use them, police recruits should also learn special skills — especially communications skills — to help them defuse and avert situations that might lead to the necessary use of force.

It should include community sensitivity training. Training recruits to handle issues of special significance in particular communities can lead to a reduction in community-police tensions. In the early s, the ACLU of Georgia, after a series of incidents occurred in Atlanta involving police harassment of gays, helped provide regular training at the local police academy to sensitize new recruits on gay and lesbian concerns. During the same period, the Police Practices Project of the ACLU of Northern California, working with other groups, organized a group of homeless people to create a video for use in sensitivity training at the San Francisco police academy.

In response to complaints that state police were harassing minority motorists and entrapping gay men during an undercover operation in the men's room of a highway service area, in the late s the ACLU of New Jersey joined the NAACP and the Lesbian and Gay Coalition in initiating a series of meetings with the new superintendent of the Division of State Police. The three groups now participate in a two-day seminar on "Cultural Diversity and Professionalism" introduced by the superintendent's office.

Attendance is required by all employees of the Division. Still, in the long term, an integrated police force is a very important goal for these reasons — Integration will break down the isolation of police departments, as they reflect more and more the composition of the communities they serve. A representative police force will probably be less likely to behave like an alien, occupying army. The visible presence of officers of color in high-ranking command positions engenders public confidence in the ability of police department personnel to identify, on human terms, with community residents.

Integration demonstrates a commitment to the principles of equal opportunity and equal protection of the law. This is a crucial message for the primary enforcement arm of "the law" to send. In deciding whether your community should press for accreditation of its local police department, keep in mind these basic points — Accreditation is a voluntary process. A police department suffers no penalty for not being accredited. In contrast, lack of accreditation in higher education carries penalties that include an institution's ineligibility for student financial aid programs and non-recognition of its awarded credits or degrees.

Current accreditation standards represent minimum, rather than optimum, goals. They are very good in some respects but do not go far enough in covering the critical uses of law enforcement powers. Accreditation might make a difference in the case of a truly backward, unprofessional and poorly managed police department in that it could help stimulate much needed and long overdue changes. On the other hand, a police department can easily comply with all of the current standards and still tolerate rampant brutality, spying and other abuses. Does arrestee need a lawyer?

Inspection and examination of records; exemptions. Every person who has custody of public records shall permit the records to be inspected and examined by any person desiring to do so, at reasonable times, under reasonable conditions. The custodian shall furnish copies or certified copies of the records upon payment of fees.

All public records which presently are provided by law to be confidential or which are prohibited from being inspected by the public, whether by general or special law, shall be exempt from the provisions of subsection 1. Their proposed legislation includes the following — Establishing an Office of the Special Police Prosecutor to prosecute cases of police abuse. If you believe you have been the victim of police abuse or misconduct and would like to take action, some of the possible options are — — Pursue your case formally through the municipal, superior, or federal court systems normally an attorney is necessary.

Your complaint should be made in writing by sending a letter to the chief of police or the head of the law enforcement agency involved. Your complaint does not need to be submitted on police department forms — a letter will suffice. The letter should specify what your complaint involves e. A copy should be sent to the Internal Affairs Division of the law enforcement agency. Make sure to keep a copy for yourself.

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You have our best wishes for success.