LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — It has been a difficult week for law enforcement in Southern California, leaving several communities aware of police violence and many officers concerned for their safety following recent attacks.
KCAL9’s Randy Paige spoke with former Los Angeles Police Department Chief Bernard Parks on Friday about the heightened sense of fear.
Several on-duty police officers were attacked during three separate instances, just this week alone.
“It’s a matter of a wake up call,” said Parks. “It’s always difficult because what you have in many instances is an underlying current that often isn’t healed.”
According to officials, the first attack took place on Saturday, when a sheriff’s deputy was severely beaten at the scene of a domestic dispute at the Lakewood Center Mall.
An LAPD SWAT officer was shot in the leg on Monday, following a pursuit on the 110 freeway with a gunman that was armed with a rifle, police said.
Authorities said that on Friday morning, a San Bernardino police officer was critically injured by a gunman who fired an AK-47 style assault rifle.
Parks said that the due to the heightened sense of danger following the recent attacks, officers could easily become wary and react too quickly in self defense while on-duty.
“You might be unwilling to give that extra half a second to determine whether something truly occurred, or you see what you thought you saw or give it that benefit of the doubt,” Parks said.
However, the recent officer involved fatal shooting of Ezell Ford in South Los Angeles has also left several communities raw, bringing local awareness to the topic of police officers that demonstrated excessive force and violence on suspects.
“Right now they’re saying that young black males unarmed are being victimized by the police,” said Parks. “Officers need to be sensitive to the feelings in neighborhoods and city residents need to get involved in their communities.”