Observing Los Angeles

Questions of LAPD abuse go national *

lapd-car-left.jpgChristine Pelisek, the veteran local police reporter who is now a Los Angeles writer for the Daily Beast, writes for the website's broad audience on "the latest use-of-force incident to surface in recent months involving the Los Angeles Police Department, which has been grappling with a series of brutality claims—some of which have been caught on tape."

In one case, an officer was caught on tape sucker-punching a skateboarder who was handcuffed on the ground. In another case, a female officer kicked a 37-year-old woman in the groin. The woman later died in the patrol car. And last month, a man was shot multiple times by officers who mistook the handcuffs he was wearing for a gun. The press release about the incident failed to mention that the man who was shot had been wearing handcuffs.

The Los Angeles Police Commission, a civilian body that oversees the police department, says it is planning to examine the cases to determine whether they are isolated incidents—or if something else is going on. The Los Angeles Police Department’s use of force division is also investigating the cases.

In the story, activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson predicts that if more officers are not punished, "There will be another Rodney King. These things are beginning to pile up."

* I should have noted: The incidents that Pelisek mentions were first reported in the Los Angeles Times, led by LAPD reporter Joel Rubin, including his disclosure this month about the 2010 case in which a woman was hit with a Taser while handcuffed.

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