The Los Angeles Police Commission voted Tuesday to clarify its procedure for reviewing officer involved shootings to formally consider an officer’s actions leading up to a use of deadly force, rather than focusing solely on the instant an officer decided to pull the trigger.
The expanded reviews may be helpful in evaluating a handful of incidents each year in which an officer’s poor behavior or decision-making led to a shooting, but officials said it won’t dramatically change the methods the Commission has already used to decide if officers followed the rules.
“This is a clarification in existing policy,” said Commissioner Robert Saltzman.
The shift follows a recent California Supreme Court opinion that an officer’s preshooting conduct may affect whether the use of deadly force was reasonable.
“We always look at the totality of circumstances,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said after the Commission meeting. “This just moves the buckets around a little bit.”
The LAPD’s internal review process helps the Chief and Commissioners decide whether an officer who used deadly or serious force should keep his or her job – or face department punishment for violating policy.
It’s separate from the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office review of police shootings in which prosecutors examine whether officers were legally justified.
-- Eric Leonard (@LeonardFiles) at LAPD Headquarters