LAPD officer shootings under review by police commission


/*LAPD*/ Chief /*Charlie Beck*/ spoke out at Tuesday's Police Commission hearing and civil rights groups were there wanting answers.

The LAPD had 63-officer-involved shootings last year, a 58-percent increase from the year before, and the department is trying to figure out why. Some say it goes hand in hand with an increase of attacks on police officers. But some criticize the way the department comes up with its numbers.

There was an increase in 2011 in the number of officer-involved shootings. Chief Beck says one of the reasons is there are more attacks on officers.

"We have more assaults with knives, more assaults with guns," said Beck.

An independent report by the Office of the Inspector General indicates there is no correlation between attacks on officers and the increase in officer-involved shootings.

At Tuesday's police commission hearing some civil rights groups asked for the reason for the increase and criticized the department, wondering if it's distorting the numbers to justify the shootings.

"If an Angeleno pulls out a knife on 15 LAPD officers -- not saying it's a good thing, it's very bad -- it is 15 counts of assault on officers. But if all 15 officers pull their triggers, it is only one incident of officer-involved shooting," said Hamid Khan, /*Los Angeles Community Action Network*/.

The /*Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners*/ said it believes the independent report is accurate, but that it doesn't tell the whole story.

"My take-away from the inspector general's report is that ultimately we need to do more digging to understand some of the circumstances involving the officer-involved shootings," said Police Commissioner Richard Drooyan.

"As long as there are Rodney Kings, examples of excessive use of force, police profiling, abuses of authority, we will continue to speak," said Michelle Autry, L.A. Community Action Network.

Beck says the department is not trying to be misleading. He says they are using numbers as ordered by legal mandates and the federal government. And while they always look for patterns and trends, each officer-involved shooting has to be examined individually.

"Each one of them has to be reviewed by the police commission, by the inspector general, by me and by the staff officers that comprise the use-of-force board -- multiple levels of review and we absolutely ensure that a very high set of standards are met for our officer-involved shootings," said Beck.

The inspector general says he will now look at the existing data, trying to analyze it, come up with a new report to try to figure out what's going on with the increase in the number of officer-involved shootings, but that could take weeks or possibly months.

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