The Youth Justice Coalition recommends ESTABLISHMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THESE ESSENTIAL POWERS FOR OVERSIGHT OF THE L.A. SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT:
1. POWER TO ESTABLISH POLICY FOR THE DEPARTMENT
2. POWER TO REVIEW AND FINALIZE THE LASD BUDGET THAT IS PRESENTED TO THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS. SPENDING DETERMINES PROGRAM AND POLICY PRIORITIES.
3. CREATE AND MAINTAIN A NEW, FAIR, TRANSPARENT, ACCESSIBLE AND INDEPENDEDNT COMPLAINT PROCESS FOR THE LASD – BOTH IN COMMUITIES AND IN CUSTODY, INCLUDING HAVING THE OIG AND THE SYSBIL BRAND COMMISSION WORK FOR AND REPORT TO THE OVERSIGHT COMMISSION.
4. ADOPT THE FAMILY RIGHTS PLATFORM GOVERNING TREAMENT OF VICTIMS’ FAMILIES AFTER USE OF FORCE:
GUARANTEE LOS ANGELES COUNTY FAMILIES THESE RIGHTS
AFTER LAW ENFORCEMENT USE OF FORCE
Establish these rights for all families – (to address community and family concerns) immediately after law enforcement use of force resulting in homicide or severe injury:
1. Maintain fairness and withhold judgment. After an incident, do not discredit the victim, their family or community. Give the same answer when people ask about the possible misconduct or excessive use of force by members of law enforcement – “We can not comment because the incident is under investigation.” (Often, law enforcement claims the person was armed, pointed a gun at officers, was on Parole, was a “gang member,” etc. These statements are made immediately after an incident without having any opportunity to investigate. Often, the information is incorrect, and there is rarely any correction or official apology issued. The damage to community trust and re-victimization of the family is lasting.
2. Reach out immediately to family members after a shooting without delay, and maintain regular and respectful communication with victims’ families after each use of force. Ensure that no family member ever again hears from the media or a neighbor that their loved one was killed.
3. Ensure that family members have access to see their loved one(s) at the scene, at the hospital and/or at the Coroner’s as soon as possible after the incident.
4. Demand and support independent investigation into all use of force incidents. Push the State Attorney general to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate incidents statewide. Demand that the District Attorney’s Office start an immediate and independent investigation. End law enforcement MOUs with the DA’s office establishing that the office won’t begin their investigation until the law enforcement agency involved completes tjeir investigation – often as much as one to two years later.
5. Do not block – “pending an investigation” – family access to victims’ compensation funds to help with funeral and burial costs, as well as to free mental health counseling and other victims’ supports. Expedite these resources for all families immediately. Establish a special fund for families to cover additional medical, counseling and other expenses.
6. After all use of force resulting in serious injury or death, hold a community meeting within 2 weeks that is open to family members, intervention workers, clergy and/or community- based organizations to air community concerns, and answer questions.
7. Admit and apologize publicly when law enforcement and/or law enforcement actions are wrong.
8. Make it clear to the community and enforce within all departments that officers/deputies involved in any actions alleging misconduct or corruption, and/or resulting in serious injury or death, are immediately removed from the field (community contact) pending an investigation, and lose all access to their firearm(s). If this is not standard procedure, make it procedure.
9. Throughout the process, act with humility, and do not make any comments that deflect responsibility away from the Department, such as “officers risk their lives every day,” or “many more people are killed by ‘gang’/community violence.”
10. Work with use of force victims, their families and community organizations to hold an investigation and hearings on use of force policies and create new policies to strengthen protections for LA’s communities.