LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck Friday stood by the department’s policy to withhold certain information from the public when investigating officers’ use of force.
KNX 1070′s Margaret Carrero reports Beck’s remarks come on the heels of LAPD officers shooting at a man in handcuffs and criticism of the department’s decision not to include that and other details in an Oct. 12 news release.
Beck acknowledged the department could work on improving how it handled information after 23-year-old Kennedy Garcia and other men fled as they were being handcuffed on suspicion of graffiti vandalism.
While pursuing Garcia, another man was found hiding face down under an SUV and two officers pulled him out by the ankles. When they saw what looked like a metal object in his hands, he was shot in the lower back and critically wounded.
Police did not release the name of the victim.
“I reviewed it, and we could’ve done it a little different,” he said. “The important thing is that I recognize — the Los Angeles Police Department recognizes — the public’s right to know, particularly on use-of-force issues, is very important.”
Beck added that the news release about the shooting was not an attempt to distort the incident.
“It wasn’t that we were trying to hide it; we were just trying to expedite the investigation,” Beck said.
The police chief sought to deflect criticism about the incident, noting that the LAPD releases officers’ names, posts investigations on its website, and submits all incidents for review by the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners.
But Beck cautions that any efforts by the LAPD to reveal too much too soon could hinder any future criminal investigations.
“Now, can we give every detail at the moment it happens? No, these are ongoing investigations,” he said. “There are things you need to keep separate, because you haven’t done all your interviews yet and you don’t want to taint those interviews.”
The investigation into the Oct. 12 incident is ongoing, Beck said.
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