LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies are more likely to mistakenly shoot black and Latino men on-duty than they are to accidentally shoot white and Asian men — and poor training could be to blame, according to a new report released this week.
The report released Thursday by the Police Assessment Resource Center suggested a lack of adequate training procedures could be responsible for the rise of what’s known among law enforcement officers as “state of mind” shootings in which deputies believe they see someone reaching for a gun.
The number of such shootings has jumped from 10 in 2005 to 15 in 2010 — a 50 percent rise — according to report author Merrick Bobb, with black and Latino youth more likely to be misidentified as being armed.
But sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said that data should be interpreted in context.
“That was a 50 percent increase, true, however, [the number] only went up by five,” said Whitmore. “Now, one is too many, but there’s a difference between the increase in numbers when its magnified in percentages.”
The report also claims that in the majority of shootings, the suspect was eventually determined to be holding common articles such as a cellphone or a wallet.
Whitmore defended the department’s training guidelines and conceded that while “everybody wants more training”, the department exceeds all standards in that area and continues to look for more training opportunities.