SOUTH LOS ANGELES — Prominent community and labor organizations are calling for a state of emergency in Los Angeles while urging Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles City Council to act with urgency to hold the Los Angeles Police Department accountable and address the disproportionate use of lethal force against black and Latino residents.
An open letter The Wave received in an email from the Community Coalition Oct. 6 said the LAPD killed more people in 2015 than any other police agency in the country and that so far this year, 18 people had been killed by the LAPD.
“Time and time again, we see law enforcement exercise restraint when confronting white suspects, while not exercising the same care to avoid the loss of black life,” the letter said. “When confronting armed and unarmed suspects, officers should use a variety of de-escalation tactics to prevent further loss of life.”
The letter also complained about the lack of transparency in the investigations of officer-involved killings and the repeated determinations by LAPD that these killings are justified only fuels suspicion and mistrust.
The letter was signed by the Community Coalition, Black Lives Matter- LA, Strategic Concepts in Organizing & Policy Education, Los Angeles Community Action Network, the Brotherhood Crusade, Los Angeles Black Worker Center, Dignity and Power Now, Children’s Defense Fund California, Advancement Project California and two labor unions, SEIU 721 and SEIU 2015.
The letter included the results of a recent poll of 195 South L.A. residents conducted by Community Coalition that showed that 69 percent of respondents say their confidence in the LAPD has decreased over the last three years; that 75 percent believe officers should avoid using deadly force, even if the suspect is armed; and that 90 percent agree that the names of the officers involved in police shootings should be released to the public.
The groups called for open, transparent and independent investigation into the recent South L.A. fatal shootings of Carnell Snell Jr. and an unidentified Latino male victim who was killed by an officer near East 45th Street and Ascot Avenue Oct. 2; making Los Angeles Police Commission meetings accessible to the public by holding them within the community instead of at LAPD headquarters; and decriminalizing peaceful protest.
“While the aforementioned demands will help alleviate growing tensions between residents and law enforcement, we believe it is imperative that Los Angeles adopts systemic reforms that eradicate officer-involved killings and police misconduct,” the letter concluded.