Despite new policies to reduce police shootings, use of deadly force by Los Angeles police increased slightly in 2017 from the previous year, but the number of fatal shootings continued a downward trend, from 19 to 17.
Despite new policies to reduce police shootings, use of deadly force by Los Angeles police increased slightly in 2017 from the previous year, but the number of fatal shootings continued a downward trend, reports the Los Angeles Times. The number of shootings by L.A. officers increased to 44 from 40 in 2016, said a report to the Police Commission. Of the 44 incidents, 31 people were hit by gunfire. The 17 people who were killed by police represented a slight decrease from 19 in 2016. Officers killed 21 people in 2015. Last year, Latinos represented 58 percent of those shot by police and whites 29 percent. African Americans were 13 percent of those shot, a significant drop from 2016, when nearly a third of police shooting victims were black. Nearly half of those shot by police last year were armed.
The report comes as the commission, the civilian panel that oversees the department, adopted changes that require officers to try defusing potentially deadly encounters before firing their guns. “It shows we’re in the right direction,” said commission president Steve Soboroff. “Community policing is demanding more in 2018, 2019 than it ever has.” Law enforcement agencies around the U.S. have come under intense scrutiny after controversial shootings of black men, and many have adopted new training approaches and policies. The Seattle Police Department requires officers to attempt de-escalation strategies, such as trying to calm someone down verbally or calling a mental health unit. The number of incidents in which less-lethal force was used by LAPD officers was up 10 percent last year. More people were killed by police in the city last year than in Chicago, Houston, New York and Philadelphia. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department tied with the Chicago Police Department, with eight fatal shootings. The New York Police Department came in second, with 10.