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Criminal Justice

LAPD Chief Acknowledges Officers At Times Fail To Render Aid After Shooting Someone

In a police officer's point of view, a pair of hands wearing black gloves grip a pistol aimed ahead at a man wearing black pants and a red shirt who seems to be aiming something back at the officer. The man is standing in the road with a line of cars in traffic on one side and white van parked on the other.
An LAPD video referenced in an L.A. Times investigation shows a suspect who threw a hammer at officers moments before they shot him, on March 19, 2021.
(Courtesy of LAPD)
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LAPD Chief Michel Moore Wednesday confirmed the findings of a Los Angeles Times investigation that said some police officers have delayed providing medical aid to suspects they've shot, and in some cases have done nothing to help until paramedics arrived.

In an interview on our newsroom's public affairs show, AirTalk, Moore said "in most instances" officers are properly rendering aid to people they've shot, but acknowledged that "there have been instances in which we fell short."

The chief said he and the Police Commission "have called out those shortfalls and have taken corrective action to remedy that."

Department policy requires officers to help injured people if they are able. The Times found that in some cases officers who violated the policy were not disciplined, because "LAPD officials determined instead that discussions about the lapses and retraining on the department’s policies were preferable."

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The Times reported Tuesday that a review of nearly 50 LAPD shootings and hours of accompanying video showed that officers who have just shot a suspect "routinely wait several minutes before approaching those suspects, then focus on handcuffing and searching them, often delaying medical attention or taking no steps to give any until paramedics arrive."

Moore described the minutes around a deadly encounter as chaotic, and said the situation requires officers to quickly shift their perspective from trying to survive a potentially deadly showdown to moving into a "guardian role" in which they're trying to save the person's life.

"And I've seen countless instances of us moving into providing CPR, providing tourniquets, providing direct pressure, calling for more medical aid, finding ways in which to get assistance to them," he said.

Handcuffing suspects is part of a "balancing act" in which officers must ensure that they and the public are protected and that any further actions on the detained individual's part are not interpreted as a new threat, the chief said.

Moore added that officers only receive training in basic first aid, so they are not as capable of providing medical assistance as first responders. Officers are trained to put someone on their side to help them breathe and to put pressure on a wound to try to stop the bleeding, he said.

Moore said it's important to improve police performance in this area "as quickly as possible." He said this type of reform is part of "the evolution of law enforcement."

You can listen to the full interview on AirTalk.

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