The Los Angeles Police Commission Tuesday reviewed a report requested by the City Council on all shootings by LAPD officers in 2021 — a year that saw the highest number of such shootings since 2017 — and sent the report to the council’s Public Safety Committee.
Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, who chairs the committee, had introduced the motion — citing the Dec. 23 shooting of 14-year-old Valentina Orellana-Peralta, who was fatally struck by a bullet fired by an officer at an assault suspect inside a Burlington store in North Hollywood.
The Public Safety Committee will review the report at some point.
The motion requested a report with an overview of all 2021’s shootings, including the status and timeline of the investigations into them and the findings of non-compliance with the LAPD’s use-of-force policy as compared to findings for the previous five years.
There were 37 shootings by the Los Angeles Police Department in 2021, 18 of them fatal. In 2020, there were 27 police shootings and seven people were killed. In 2019, the LAPD reached a three-decade low with 26 police shootings.
As of Jan. 17, only one of the 2021 shootings had been found to be out of policy, out of four that were adjudicated by the Police Commission. On average, seven shootings per year between 2016 and 2020 have been found to be out of policy, according to the report.
Additionally, while officers fired their weapons more times than the year before, the number of suspects with a firearm during those shootings decreased, according to the department.
Councilman Mike Bonin spoke during the Feb. 9 meeting, when the City Council voted to request a report, to highlight the increase.
“I think it’s important to note that after a long improvement, going from hundreds of shootings per year in the 1990s to a record low number in 2019, last year saw a sharp and dramatic increase in the number of shootings,” he said. “… It’s also important to note that none of those who died at the end of December were armed with guns.”
Of the 37 shootings last year, 40.5% of the suspects had a firearm. The remaining 22 suspects had objects classified as weapons by the department, including edged weapons, vehicles and bike locks, according to the report. In 2020, 59% of the suspects in police shootings had firearms.
Capt. Scott Williams told the police commission that the increase in shootings by officers in response to people with edged weapons has led to new training that focuses on that type of contact.
Bonin added that as Los Angeles representatives and media focus their attention on the 54% increase in homicides in 2021, they should also address the 157% increase in fatal police shootings.
“It’s important for us to draw attention to this because this is about city employees. These are people that we hire. These are people that we train. These are people that we discipline,” he added.
The Los Angeles Police Department will have a more in-depth review of shootings by its officers later in the year. A date for that presentation to be presented to the commission has not been set.