The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to have an “after-action” report conducted on the tactics used by police officers in controlling crowds during protests in late May and early June, and to investigate incidents of possible excessive force.
The proposal for the report was authored by Council President Nury Martinez and Councilmen Mike Bonin, David Ryu and Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
The report will look at the Los Angeles Police Department’s actions between May 27 and June 7, and will be overseen by the Police Commission. The council requested Gerald Chaleff, author of the LAPD’s review of the 2007 May Day incident in MacArthur Park, to lead the report.
Bonin said he heard stories from protesters that they were shot at with rubber bullets, unfairly corralled during curfew orders and detained on buses where they could not socially distance, but he said he’d also heard stories and seen reports of bricks being thrown at officers, who showed restraint in the face of the protests.
“These are all fundamentally disturbing stories, and they vastly, dramatically contradict the stories that were being told in the initial public narrative,” Bonin said. “If anybody throws a brick at an officer, that’s a crime and they should be prosecuted. But if anybody threw a punch at or shoved or fired into peaceful protesters, that is a crime.”
The report must include an analysis of whether officers acted within compliance with department policies and legal mandates during the recent civil unrest, such as the firing of rubber bullets and other ammunition at primarily peaceful protesters.
It must also include how the LAPD announced that people were engaging in unlawful assemblies and breaking curfews and how those decisions were made, as well as a report on decisions to deploy officers to block peaceful protesters from marching.
Civil rights attorney Connie Rice was requested by Harris-Dawson to speak about the after-action report, and she recommended the council not approve a proposed donation of $350,000 from the National Police Foundation to have the report conducted because she said the foundation is basically part of the department.
“… It’s very important that independent outsiders do the analysis,” Rice said. “No police department that I’ve ever sued or worked with is capable of analyzing its own actions in the aftermath of a controversial incident.”
The council voted to have the LAPD Liability Claims Account fund the report.
Another part of the report will seek to find how people arrested during the protests for curfew violations or failure to disperse when ordered to do so were handled after their arrest, including information on whether social distancing and other public health guidelines were followed to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
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