Police

California DOJ Presents Public With Second Annual Report on Police Uses of Force

Taylor Walker
Written by Taylor Walker

In 2017, law enforcement officers in California used force against civilians in a manner that resulted in serious bodily injury or death, or the discharge of a gun in 707 separate incidents, according to the state Department of Justice’s second ever police use-of-force report released this week.

The public data report is part of the CA Dept. of Justice’s transparency initiative, OpenJustice. In 2015, then-Attorney General Kamala Harris launched the OpenJustice data portal website to bring transparency to the state’s justice system by publishing crime and policing statistics. The following year, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that made the site a one-stop-shop for the electronic collection and public reporting of data on crime and officers uses-of-force, as well as data on incidents in which civilians shoot cops.

According to the latest report, police discharged their firearms in a total of 353 of the 707 reported use of force incidents last year.

There were 75 fewer incidents in 2017 than in 2016, although the number of use of force incidents that involved gunfire increased by 25.

More than half—51.8 percent—of the individuals on whom officers used force were not armed. Officers perceived civilians to be armed in 61.3 percent of the incidents.

Approximately 53.5 percent of involved civilians showed signs of mental illness, according to the report.

The report also breaks down demographic information about the serious uses of force.

Approximately 43.9 percent of civilians were Latino, 30.2 percent were white, 19.3 percent were black, and Native Americans, Asians, and Indians, made up approximately 3 percent of involved civilians.

A total of 55.7 percent of involved officers were white, 32.4 percent were Latino, 3.6 percent were black, 5.3 percent were Asian, and Native Americans and Indians made up less than one percent.

The interactive data is crucial in an era of heightened scrutiny of officer-involved shootings and other uses of force in California and across the nation.

One bill currently maneuvering through state legislature, Assembly Bill 931, was introduced in response to public outrage over the death of Stephon Clark, who was fatally shot on March 18 by Sacramento police officers who believed the cell phone he was holding was a gun.

The “Police Accountability and Community Protection Act,” introduced by Assemblymembers Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) and Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), would change the circumstances under which officers can use deadly force.

Current law says that officers can use deadly force when “objectively reasonable”—when another officer with similar training and experience would have behaved similarly under the same circumstances.

AB 931 would permit officers to use deadly force only to prevent imminent bodily harm or death, and when there are no reasonable alternatives to de-escalate the situation through verbal warnings, persuasion, or other non-lethal efforts. Under the bill, prosecutors would also be able to look at an officer’s actions leading up to a deadly use of force, and whether those actions were “grossly negligent” and put the officer unnecessarily in danger.

The bill would require officers “to attempt to control an incident by using time, distance, communications, and available resources in an effort to deescalate a situation whenever it is safe and reasonable to do so.”

Most recently, the Senate Public Safety Committee pushed AB 931 through with a 5-2 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee for a vote.

A second bill focused on transparency regarding uses of force, SB 1421, aims to open up law enforcement personnel records to the public when officers are found by their departments to have committed misconduct and when they use force—specifically, when they discharge their firearms or Tasers, use a weapon to strike a person’s head or neck, or use force that results in serious bodily harm or death.

35 Comments

  • http://a.msn.com/01/en-us/AAzXVbt?ocid=se A good article in USA today about the rising crime and murder rates in Baltimore after the Freddy Gray incident and trial. Proactive policing has ceased as a result of the current anti police sentiment in Baltimore and other major metropolitan areas in the country. The left has achieved their goal. Lets just see if they get what they wished for…. because its coming to a city near you. Celeste…..how bout doing a follow up on this story…..I’m sure the same reduction in proactive policing is occurring nation wide, especially in Los Angeles.

  • Black Lives Matter/Hands Up Don’t Shoot are all based on lies. We now know the officer in the Ferguson incident was brutally attacked and defended himself. The long list of unarmed black men being gunned down by police officers is also a myth. The vast majority of these incidents involved criminal activity where the suspects refused to comply with lawful police instructions or resisted arrest. Most people….those not involved in criminal activity….stop and comply with instructions from police officers…and then go home at night. Evidently. some communities wish to provide a safer environment for those committing crimes in their neighborhoods. One must ask why?

    • Bandwagon, you do make valid points and I get it. Let’s break it down, ie Walter Scott: He had a warrant, got spooked and took off running, which is child’s play, compared to killing a cop. To shoot Scott in the back, move evidence and lie about is totally unacceptable. Truly not the norm but more often than we actually know.

  • Brother; Valid point. That one was really bad and rest assured there will be another just like it someday. I wish the opposite, but reality says it will. Fallible humans do stupid shit sometimes. No excuses here.

    What is getting lost because of people like Celeste and websites like this, is that incidents like that are not nearly the norm. I do understand that even 1 is too many, but we contact millions upon millions of people every week without incident.

    Notice how Celeste doesn’t clarify shit?!?
    58.1 percent of the people we used force on were unarmed!! Fucking cops!!! That’s brutal!!! Poor victims of police abuse!!

    What’s unarmed? Is a suspect that walks up and breaks my jaw with a sucker punch unarmed because he doesn’t have a gun or a knife?

    The 58.1 percentage sentence sounds like we just walked up and started kicking the shit out of some Average Joe. Doesn’t happen, but Celeste and Reg would sure like you to Fucking think so. Doesn’t happen. And the fact Celeste just cuts and pastes this DOJ BULLSHIT that’s not explained to the average citizen speaks volumes.

    • You’re correct in that similar acts by another cop will come to the surface. I also wish that it would not,but only in a perfect world. Not a cop basher but even credible cops take the code of silence when their partner is dirty as the next criminal. We could go on forever but that’s my take. Both sides have to coexist, period.

  • Brother. I respect your comments and find you have an open mind. I agree the Walter Scott shooting was terrible and the officer will have many years to contemplate his actions. That being said…that type of incident, in my opinion, is not the norm.

    • The Walter Scott murder is not the norm however it shows a pattern, relevant to five other police shootings mentioned in a previous thread. The case in Baton Rouge, Louisiana was another, mildly put, unnecessary shooting. The cop who killed Alton Sterling was a dumb ass, red neck hillbilly. Research the released footage.

      • I might add that yes, Alton Sterling had a concealed gun which was recovered. I would like to say without incident but it was not the case. The “extra’s” attributed to that shooting was totally unnecessary. You and I both know that the officer couldn’t pull that off in any populated city, specifically Los Angeles or New York. Just my observation.

  • In the Freddy Gray incident, several officers were prosecuted for his death. Ultimately, a Judge aquited the officers, meaning there was no factual basis for believing they had committed a crime. Certainly they violated policy and we’re subject to administrate actions by their Department and subject to being sued by the family of Freddy Gray. So why does a District Attorney prosecute officers when they had in fact committed no crime? The answer to that question is why police officers throughout the country are no longer being proactive and crime is on the increase. The press continues to feed the anti police retoric and is ultimately responsible for the increase in crime and needless deaths.

  • Bandwagon, let me get this straight. Your ilk is upset that they can’t throw people in the back of vehicle and bounce them around until they are dead? You need the freedom to do that? Really? And, you find it acceptable that paid government employees engage is a work slow-down on the government dime, failing to uphold the oath to protect the community? It is shameless. In any other job, these folks would get fired. You feel so strongly, quit. But, alas, its better than being a security guard at Walmart.

    And, you think that because you bark out orders people should mindlessly follow them because otherwise they can wind up dead? Have you heard of the first amendment? I have, myself, been stopped and asked by an officer what am I doing in a certain area or where am I going? It never happened when I was with white friends and it never happened to white friends. As a kid, I would have would have complied with the officer’s questioning. I had had enough contacts with the folks in blue that I knew to go along lest I get smacked or arrested. You learn that. Now, I say its, “none of your business, officer” or “why does it matter?” So, no, people need not answer your questions, follow your commands, and you can’t stop anyone you want. Can you tell me what happened to Ezel Ford?

    Finally, Walter Scott is not the norm? Negro, please. Its not the norm in that not every officer ends up with a dead black man, but that was only an unfortunate outcome of a shitty officer, of which there are many. I can tell you that, and you know it because you are probably one, there are a lot of officers with serious issues, racist tenancy and goddamn cowboy attitudes that think they can stop and harass anyone in the name of policing. Funny how a black man does something and its “they,” “those people,” but its a shitty cop and its the exception. Again, can you tell me why Ezel Ford is dead?

    It’s no duck walk anymore, my friend. You mess with people, the people will be up in your face and let you know. If you want to keep working as you do, you might have been better off in the south, perhaps Biscayne Park, Florida. All you need to know is what is painted on the outside of your patrol car, “To Protect and TO SERVE.” If you can’t do it, or you think its asking too much, move on. Do you really need the money that badly that you stay in a job you don’t want to do? If so, I feel sorry for you.

    • According to Wikipedia Ezell Ford was a retarded criminal who fought a couple of cops and tried to take one of the cops guns. Apparently that’s why he’s dead. Judging by your comments cf, you may want check that attitude, could get you in trouble out there. I know in reality you probably just bow and scrape whenever the “man” comes around, which explains why you need to vent from the safety of your keyboard, but be careful you don’t start believing in your own bullshit, that’s usually the downfall of people like you.

    • Why is Ezell Ford dead?
      That is an interesting question.
      Why is Leroy Hill dead?
      Hill witnessed the incident between Ford and 2 LAPD officers who shot him.
      Only days before he was scheduled for deposition in the case, Leroy Hill was assassinated.
      He was not the only witness removed from participation in the case.
      A man who witnessed the incident looking through a 2nd floor window of a residence along the street subsequently could not be located by investigators from the District Attorney’s office.
      He may have wisely decided that his safest course of action was to relocate himself and leave no forwarding address.
      Or he may have also met an untimely death.

  • Oh CF:. I got choked out by an LAPD officer when I was 15 because I came off the hood of his car while being searched. Had I done what was required I could have saved myself from blacking out. The difference between u and I is I don’t carry a big chip on my shoulder asking any cop to knock it off. I told u once before…as long as you carry all that anger…you will never be in charge of ur own destiny.

  • CF: By the way. I didn’t say I agreed with the idea of the police turning a blind eye to crime. I was just pointing out the obvious as reported by USA today. And no my friend, I don’t need the money….I’m getting by pretty well in my county retirement thank you. Are there shitty cops….. certainly…..like every other profession……time to move on my friend Che Guevara and Fidel Castro are both long gone.

  • CF:. I will add the cop that choked me out was Hispanic. But I don’t harbor any ill feelings toward Hispanic cops. I don’t think he choked my out because I was white. . I think it was because I did something stupid.

  • CF. You are a very angry and bitter person. Let’s do it your way, that is until someone in your family is robbed, raped or murder. Then you will be screaming fucking cops do your job. Well that means contacting people. It is very easy for you when you actually have no idea how to do police work or what the job entails. have you ever thought about doing a ride-along with your local police department and maybe get some clue about what you’re really talking about.

  • CF: We all know what you really want to type when you say, “Negro please”.

    You’re the problem, plain and simple. You’re an ignorant racist with a massive chip on your shoulder preventing you from EVER having a mature conversation or ever moving towards a productive space to one day live in peace.

    We all have work to do, but without completely ignorant people like you to get in the way.

    Step aside, the adults are talking.

  • WOW! The number of incidents involving Latinos is really high, much higher than Blacks. Totally opposite of the narrative presented by the news media, politicians and the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Does this mean, at least in California, the number of police citizen contacts involving Latinos is much higher for some reasona? Greater population, higher probability of being involved in criminal activity, racism? This sure doesn’t help support the whole “open boarders” movement and the abolishment of ICE now does it?

    Simply put, Mexico and many our neighbors to the south, are blaring example of what most people in this country do not want it to become, whether it be White, Brown, Black, Yellow or “Q”.

    • One Laquisha Jones just got hooked for hitting a 92 year old Mexican guy with a brick while yelling at him to “go home”. I don’t know about you guys but she perfectly fits my mental image of cf, coincidence? I’m not so sure.

  • Maj. Kong, not quite. Ezel Ford suffered from schizophrenia. Someone with schizophrenia may be of average, sometimes above, intelligence. You are confusing it with what, for example, Sarah Palin’s kid has. Palin’s kid is retarded, not Ezel. At the time he was stopped he was not committing a crime. Your porcine brethren were conducting an “investigative stop.” I have not seen the LAPD training manual, but my understanding is this means “harass suspicious black kid.”

    Bandwagon, thanks for clarifying that the officer that choked you was Hispanic. It matters not. As you know, I am not racist and his race or color does not matter to me. To paraphrase the bard, a pig by any other color is still a pig. Or, was it a rose by any other name? Anyway, you get my point.

    Ownership, I’m disappointed. If you think your exchange, and that of the other LEOs on the site, rises to mature conversation, I’ve lost hope that we can ever actually discuss the issues intelligently. Most of what you guys post is thinly disguised racist views, at worst, and pedestrian, at best.

    Finally, Major Kong, make up your mind. Do I want open borders or do I want people to “go home?” I have not committed a crime and you have not arrested me, so no need to keep changing your story.

    • Ford’s neighbors said he was “kinda slow” one neighbor said he had the mental capacity of an 8 year old, the other neighbor said the capacity of a 10 year old. Cf ,you don’t even know what the hell youre talking about do you? If you’re going to throw around names and accusations (like some people throw bricks at 92 year old Mexicans) you ought to at least read up on the subject a little. And what the hell does Sarah Palin’s kid have to do with anything?
      Btw, can you account for your whereabouts for the last day or two? I’m still not convinced about your involvement in that whole brick throwing fiasco.

        • Is that you no mas? I was referring to laquisha Jones who threw a brick at a 92 year old Mexican guy and told him to “go home”. See, I suspect cf might be ms Jones. Simple enough for you no mas?

  • “I am not racist” c’mon CF. Under bigotry in the dictionary is a photo of you. I think you views on “white” cops could be construed as bigotry. Again, you are a prime example of our failing education system, specifically in our Universities where racist/socialist views are sold and eagerly accepted by gullible students……..still waiting for the utube video of you fronting off (disrespecting) a police officer….for no other reason that he/she is wearing a uniform and therefore deserves your scorn. Hmm sounds a little bit like bigotry to me. Cuba is still looking for up and coming socialists….why not head there and say hello to Angela Davis why you are there……..

  • Hey CF: Did u see the video of the poor barber minding his own business then brutally murdered by the Chicago PD resulting in the local community rioting and attacking the police. Trouble is the video shows “the barber” attempting to arm himself and engage the police. Boy. Lucky the police had video to show they did nothing wrong. I hesitate to think what might have happened without the video. Brother what do u think of this one?

    • It speaks for itself. Wrong is wrong and bodycams are good for the cops and for civilians. No leaning here, just the straight up truth. Terrorism is terrorism regardless if it’s the local gangbangers or U.S. Citizen Stephen Paddock holed up in Mandalay Bay killing 59 people. Many on this site ignored that act of terrorism, deflecting to the bump stock.

  • Hey Bandwagon: Your honest thoughts – what is your take on the latest frenzy of those who make calls to police on Blacks for frivolous bullshit? ie using a charcoal grill in a park instead of a gas grill in Oakland Ca., or the Pool Manager calling police on resident at local pool, demanding her ID in N.C. The latest one is “ARE YOU SERIOUS”? with Chicago CVS store clerk calling cops on Black lady with a store coupon. UNACCEPTABLE!

  • I look at everything under the same prism. Would I make the phone call/complaint on a white person. If not.. then there are definitely some issues! Thanks for ur honest response.

  • Brother: I believe the black community needs to be more selective when protesting (lawfully or unlawfully) officer involved shootings. There will be police shootings that certainly will need to be scrutinized….but the vast majority will be determined lawful. The black community loses the message when every police shooting is deemed “murder” etc…especially followed by criminal civil unrest. Ferguson and Chicago’s shootings are prime examples. Interested in ur response.

    • The uninformed mob mentality of some in the inner city is not indicative of what is generally known as the “black community”. Granted there is nothing wrong with protests, dependent upon the situation but actual and true details should be the core of any demonstration. More oft than not, there are many agitators in those protests.

  • I totally agree with u on all accounts. It’s too bad the press will play to the agitators and the message will be lost……a free and unbiased press is necessary in a democracy and serves as a check and balances to the government. It appears those days are long gone.

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