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Criminal Justice

LAPD Officers Who Wrongfully Shoot At Civilians Face Light Discipline Or None At All

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An LAPD squad car is parked near L.A. City Hall at night in this file photo.
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Most Los Angeles Police Department officers who wrongfully open fire on civilians never face discipline, according to a report by the department's inspector general.

Between the start of 2015 and the end of 2020, 66 officers violated department policy when they shot at people, the report says. Approximately 40% of those officers were disciplined.

Of that 40%, most officers were suspended for time periods ranging from two to 55 days.

Just one officer, Salvador Sanchez, was fired. While off duty, Sanchez fatally shot 32-year-old Kenneth French and seriously wounded French's parents during an incident at a Corona Costco in 2019.

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After the Riverside County District Attorney did not file criminal charges, California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed voluntary manslaughter and assault charges against Sanchez last August. In January, Sanchez pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charge, according to the Press-Enterprise.

Last October, a federal jury awarded French's family $17 million.

Officers who did not face discipline received additional training at the behest of Chief Michel Moore or his predecessor, Chief Charlie Beck.

Between them, Beck and Moore wanted to fire six officers who wrongfully opened fire. Both were largely overruled by internal discipline panels.

The report, the first of its kind, was commissioned by Mayor Eric Garcetti. It was presented to the police commission on Tuesday.

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Frank Stoltze covers a new movement for criminal justice reform at a time when not everybody shares the same vision.