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L.A. Now Live: Discuss sharp jump in officer-involved killings

June 11, 2012 |  9:55 am

Times staffers Joel Rubin and Sarah Ardalani will join City Editor Shelby Grad for a discussion about the high number of killings by police in Los Angeles County last year.

The chat is scheduled for noon Monday. Questions can be submitted live.

Rubin, who covers the Los Angeles Police Department, and Ardalani, who manages The Times' Homicide Report, reported that 54 people were killed by police throughout 2011 in Los Angeles County, a nearly 70% increase over the previous year.

With 612 people killed in the county last year, nearly 1 in every 10 such deaths occurred at the hands of law enforcement officers.

Among the findings:

• All but six of the fatal shootings involved officers from either the Los Angeles Police Department or the county's Sheriff's Department, which, taken together, patrol the vast majority of the county's roughly 10 million people. The other six were committed by police in Long Beach, Downey and Santa Monica.

• In two-thirds of the cases, the person shot by police was armed with a gun, knife or other weapon, whereas in 12 cases, the person was unarmed. In the remaining few cases, it was not clear from the autopsy reports whether the person killed had been armed.

• Eighteen of the shootings — one-third of the total — occurred when officers were dispatched to respond to a report of shots being fired, an armed suspect or an assault with a deadly weapon. In at least 12 of those cases, the person shot by police was armed with a gun, a knife or a realistic-looking replica of a gun. By contrast, 12 shootings were set in motion not with a call for help, but rather with an officer's choice to initiate contact with someone he believed was acting suspiciously. In seven of those cases, the person shot by police was armed with a weapon.