At a press conference on Monday, Chair of the Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger was asked whether she would seek changes in the sheriff’s department. “My concern,” Barger said, noting that this applied to law enforcement in general, “is people don’t recognize the importance of having law enforcement out there and appreciate the fact that they are equally as outraged about what took place in the murder of George Floyd.”
“In terms of their response, I feel that they have done an incredible job. Not only the sheriff, but LAPD.”
Barger then admitted that, “We can always do better,” but said, “I have real no issues with how law enforcement has rolled out on these issues. And if there are any issues, I know that the sheriff will investigate, as well as [LAPD} Chief Moore has indicated he will be investigating as well.”
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This seems to run counter to a motion from Supervisors Janice Hahn and Mark Ridley-Thomas last week that encourages the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department adopt eight changes to its Use of Force policies. Those include deescalation, requiring officers to intervene when they see misuse of authority and restricting or prohibiting chokeholds. Read the full motion here.
These reforms were developed by police watchdog group Campaign Zero and, according to Hahn’s website, “Each of these eight reforms was associated with a 15 percent reduction in police killings for the average police department — put together, they reduced police violence by 72 percent.”
“The people are demanding change,” said Hahn in a statement. “These are eight steps that can be taken right now by all of our law enforcement departments that are proven effective in reducing the number of people killed by police and sheriff’s deputies. Most of the police departments in L.A. County have already implemented one or two of these policies, but no one has implemented all eight. I am calling on our Sheriff and all of our local police chiefs to update their use of force policies to include these important restrictions to use of force. We cannot wait any longer.”
The proposal from Hahn and Ridley-Thomas makes the same request of the county’s 46 local police departments, including the Long Beach Police Department.
Public comment on the motion will be heard by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, June 9 at 9:30 a.m. The proposal will be voted on by the board later that day.
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