*A sobering new report from the youth advocacy organization Los Angeles Youth Justice Coalition delves into the activity of Los Angeles law enforcement officers in a report called, “Don’t Shoot to Kill.” The report claims that nearly 600 people, many of them young black and Latino men, have been killed by Los Angeles law enforcement officers over the past 14 years.
The organization investigates the use of lethal force among police and gathered homicide data from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Department and details from numerous media reports on specific incidents for the “Don’t Shoot to Kill” report. The report shows that between Jan. 1, 2000 and August 31, 2014, law enforcement officers in Los Angeles County used lethal force that resulted in the deaths of at least 589 people. Broken down, that comes to almost one death a week.
“If the killing of community residents is one measure of police-community relations,” the report reads, “then law enforcement’s fear, distrust and/or aggressive treatment of people –- especially youth and people of color –- have not improved, and may have increased.”
The report references the overall homicides in L. A. County between 2000 – 2006 were between 1074 and 1231 per year. And it states that officer-involved killings during that time made up between 2.5 and 4.5 percent of the total. But since 2007, though the overall homicide rates appear to have trended downward ( 941 total killings in 2007, and 595 in 2013) the use of deadly force by law enforcement resulting in homicide actually “doubled to between 4 and 8 percent” of the total.
According to “Don’t Shoot to Kill,” of the 314 people killed between 2007 and 2014, 97 percent were male, a combined 82 percent were black or Latino and 52 percent were under age 30.
The report does note that there are 57 different law enforcement agencies in L.A. County, and “many departments had no killings” during the 14-year period examined in the report, said Kim McGill, an organizer with the YJC.
“We do know that, by far, the highest numbers [of police killings] are [committed by] county sheriffs and LAPD, with Long Beach and Inglewood leading among smaller cities,” McGill told The Huffington Post in an email.
Read more about the conclusions reached in the detailed report at the Huffington Post.