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Inglewood delays release of report on police shootings, prompting criticism

Criticism is building in Inglewood over city officials’ decision to delay releasing an independent report on the city’s police department, which came under scrutiny last year in the wake of a spate of fatal police shootings of unarmed suspects.

In a statement last week, the city council announced it had received the report by the County’s Office of Independent Review, a civilian oversight group, but was withholding it from public release because of attorney-client privilege in legal matters involving the police department.

The council did not specify when the report will be released, only stating that it will “eventually” be made public in its entirety.

The report will mark the first independent, external assessment of the department since the shootings, in which officers shot and killed four men over a span of four months in 2008. Three of those suspects were unarmed. 

The U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division is also investigating the policies and procedures of the Inglewood Police Department. The L.A. County District Attorney’s office and the FBI have opened inquiries into specific shootings.

Community activists and other citizens in Inglewood criticized the delays in releasing the report, saying residents are eager for the findings to be released so they can be assured the department is taking steps to make reforms where necessary.

“The public has a right to know,” said Erin Kaplan, an Inglewood resident and freelance journalist who has written about issues plaguing the South Bay city. “We’re all on pins and needles … there is an unease about the department.”

Kaplan said the council was being “shortsighted” by withholding the report. She said making the findings public will answer the public’s questions about the department and help restore the loss in trust between citizens and the police force.

City attorney Cal Saunders declined to answer a reporter’s questions about why the report falls under the attorney-client privilege, or what pending legal matters against the police were barring the report’s release.

The yearlong review that led to the report began after the third in the series of shootings. Michael Gennaco, chief attorney for the Office of Independent Review, said his office closely followed the investigation and reaction following the fourth shooting, in which officers fired more than 40 rounds at a homeless man who had a replica of a gun in his waistband.

After a process of comments and revisions, the final report was completed and given to the city council sometime last month, he said. “The city has got to decide if and when to release it,” Gennaco said. “The ball’s in their court.”

Inglewood’s Citizen Police Oversight Commission, a civilian oversight panel, also has yet to receive the findings. Adrianne Sears, the commission’s president, said her group has requested a copy from the city council but hasn’t received a response.

She said members of both the oversight commission and the general public have been asking her about the report

“Everybody is waiting and waiting to see what this report says,”Sears said.

-- Victoria Kim

Read The Times investigation of the Inglewood police. 

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Comments () | Archives (8)

As a retired police officer I can count the number of times of actually unholstered my weapon (3) in 22 years. The fact that so many police departments have relaxed their standards as it relates to hiring eligible applicants is a factor in many of these shootings. If the police do not live, coach, shop and love the areas they police they will never become a part of that community. The shooting of unarmed people can never be allowed; each officer involved with any type of shooting should be suspended and given desk duty until an independent body has cleared them of any wrong-doing. The only way to get respect from the coummunity is to let them know that the law applies to everyone including police. But let's be honest afer Rodney King and the O.J. fiasco did we really not see this coming?

Inglewood is delaying releasing the report because the results look bad for the city. Someone should sue under the Freedom of Information Act to get this report released. It's clearly Inglewood is trying to cover up their problems and prevent justice for it's citizens.

Sounds like the report is not going to go the way the city would like it to go.

The Police Department is so corrupt that these reports will always twist the truth about these senseless killings. If they have nothing to hide, then why delay something that shouldn't be? I feel soo bad for the citizens of Inglewood who cannot trust those individulas that are supposed to protect them. Instead they have to run and hide from them too.

The cops are out of control. If Americans have to take the law and their defense into their own hands to protect themselves from killer cops who never are held accountable than the cops have no one to blame but themselves.

Inglewood should remember those in City Council seats at this time when in comes time for election, let your ballot speak for you. Also don't be to fast to say that it looks bad for the PD and Inglewood, they will withhold the report to prepare themselves if the report is in their favor, for a response against the citizens of Inglewood.

The city is bound by state law regarding treatment of peace officers in relation to incidents which could result in discipline. The salivating dogs screeching for officers' blood will not be placated by anything the city does. When it's one's livelihood or passion to imflame prejudice, what do you expect critics to do? The criminals' families admirers are "on pins and needles." Regular citizens have little to fear. If Inglewood PD was so bad, why aren't they shooting people daily? Or even more frequently? Even the people on this blog, why haven't you been shot by an officer? Could it be that you are respectful, mind your own business, follow the law, don't join gangs, don't engage police with violence, and maintain a modicum of civility in your daily lives?

As a longtime Inglewood resident I am extremely angry at the city officials. They consistently cover up the truth, to the detriment of the community, instead of making those "few" rogue cops to be brought to justice. If they would do that they will also be sending a message to other cops that this will not be tolerated, but as it stands Inglewood residents are "fair game" for their cops. I have attended protests and marches in regards to these men who were killed by their cops, but little has been done to resolve this Inglewood trend. I have lived here since I was 10 y/o, when I finished college I stayed here and my son was raised in this city. In all my years here this level of complacency towards such a horrific injustice has not existed. My son just turned 18 and will start driving soon, sad to say, but I plan to move due to the "high risk" of injury to his life if we were to stay. I'm also in the process of opening a small business and wanted to do so here, but I refuse to give this city one red cent in tax revenues when they obviously don't use it for what it's intended for, namely to protect it's residents.


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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