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Report of the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department: Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
17 pages
This summary of the report of the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), which was established in the wake of the videotaped beating of Rodney King by three uniformed officers in the presence of a large group of other officers, presents findings on patterns of officer use of excessive force and recommendations for policy and structure designed to eliminate police use of excessive force.
The commission's extensive computerized analysis of the data provided by the Los Angeles Police Department (personnel complaints, use of force reports, and reports of officer-involved shootings) shows that a significant group of problem officers (63) had 20 or more reports of the use of excessive force or improper tactics from 1986 to 1990. The commission also reviewed the LAPD's investigation and discipline of the officers involved in all 83 civil lawsuits that alleged excessive or improper force by LAPD officers from 1986 through 1990 that resulted in a settlement or judgment of more than $15,000. The LAPD's investigation of these cases was deficient in many respects, and discipline against the officers involved was often light or nonexistent. Overall, the commission believes the LAPD has not made sufficient efforts to use available tools effectively to address the significant number of officers who apparently use force excessively and improperly. The commission report examines racism and bias in officer attitudes and conduct, community-policing efforts, officer recruitment and selection, training, personnel policies, personnel complaints and officer discipline, and structural issues. The commission recommends that the chief of police be limited to two, 5-year terms with an immediate commencement in a transition in that office. The commission further recommends that LAPD leadership give priority to stopping the use of excessive force and curbing racism and bias.