LA City Council Expands Police Oversight; Plan Calls For Unarmed Responders On Nonviolent Calls
The L.A. City Council approved a stack of measures on Tuesday aimed at increasing police oversight and scaling back the role of law enforcement in city life.
In the remaining days before a 3-week long July recess, councilmembers are racing to respond to calls for substantive change coming from constituents who’ve been protesting for racial justice.
One green-lit measure orders a plan for replacing LAPD officers with unarmed crisis response personnel for nonviolent emergency calls. In theory, a call to 911 about a homeless person in distress, for example, or a domestic dispute, would be answered by mental health professionals or social workers, instead of a police officer with a gun.
The council also voted to require independent oversight of an investigation into the conduct of LAPD officers during protests in May and June.
Councilmember Mike Bonin helped introduce the motion asking the LAPD to bring in former defense attorney Gerald Chaleff to oversee the agency's after action report. Chaleff is a member of the LAPD Police Commission who oversaw a federal consent decree that was imposed in 2001, after a scandal involving corruption within the police department's Rampart Division.
“If anyone threw brick at an officer, that’s a crime and they should be prosecuted,” Bonin said. “But if anyone threw a punch at, shoved or fired into peaceful protesters -- that’s a crime and they should be punished. We owe the people of Los Angeles...a thorough and independent investigation.”
Bonin said he wants to see a close review of the LAPD’s tactics, use of force against protesters, and treatment of protesters who were arrested.