According to a report released by the Los Angeles Youth Justice Coalition, law enforcement in the city kill on average about one person a week.
Since 2000, nearly 600 people, many of them young black and Latino men, have lost their lives at the hands of police.
The report, titled “Don’t Shoot to Kill,” examines homicide data from the Los Angeles County coroner’s department and incorporates details from numerous media reports on specific incidents. Between Jan. 1, 2000 and August 31, 2014, the report found, law enforcement officers in Los Angeles County used lethal force resulting in the deaths of at least 589 people. That’s almost one death a week, for nearly 14 years.
“If the killing of community residents is one measure of police-community relations,” the report reads, “then law enforcement’s fear, distrust and/or aggressive treatment of people –- especially youth and people of color –- have not improved, and may have increased.”
From 2000 to 2006, the report says, overall homicides in L.A. County ranged between 1074 and 1231 per year. During that period, officer-involved killings made up between 2.5 and 4.5 percent of that total. However, since 2007, as overall homicide rates have trended downward — there were 941 total killings in 2007, but only 595 in 2013 — law enforcement use of deadly force resulting in homicide “doubled to between 4 and 8 percent” of the total, the report reads.
Of the 314 people killed between 2007 and 2014, 97 percent were male, and 82 percent were black or Latino. Fifty-two percent of those killed were under age 30, according to the report.
L.A. County has 57 different law enforcement agencies. Many departments had no killings during the 14-year period examined by researchers.
The highest number of police killings are committed by county sheriffs and the LAPD. Long Beach and Inglewood lead among smaller cities.
The YJC report offers a number of detailed recommendations to help reduce violence committed by police and community members. It calls for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to launch a civil rights investigation into officer-involved shootings throughout the country, as well as the use of excessive force.
The report also suggest the elimination of surplus military equipment, and the end of stop-and frisk searches and gang injunctions.
Are you at all surprised by the findings of this report?
In your opinion, what’s a proper solution to decreasing the number of fatalities executed by police?
Sound off below!