LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Activists and police officers are growing increasingly concerned about the outcome of the Ezell Ford investigation.
Craig Lally, the president of the L.A. Police Protective League, says the Police Commission verdict in the Ford shooting death case is already causing some officers to shy away from some crime prevention tactics, such as observational stops.
“They’re very worried if they make a mistake,” Lally said. “They’ll get that radio call, they’ll respond as quickly and safely as possible, but … several officers have said, ‘I’m not making that observation arrest anymore. Why should I?'”
CBS2/KCAL9 political reporter Dave Bryan asked Lally about whether L.A. is following in the city of Baltimore’s footsteps: after a black man there died during an arrest, for which several officers were charged with criminal offenses. police in that city pulled back dramatically from arrests and crime fighting. A crime wave reportedly followed.
Lally says he hopes the same thing doesn’t happen here, “but the way we do police work has changed right now.”
The hint of a less aggressive crime fighting attitude on the part of some police officers comes on a day when members of the group Black Lives Matter say they were roughly turned away by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s security detail. They had showed up at a mayoral event and said they wanted to discuss the issues with the mayor.
Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors said, “Today started our ‘Follow L.A. Mayor Campaign’ -where he goes we go. We will be trying to have a conversation with him until he meets with us and until he fires Chief Charlie Beck.”
The protesters claim the mayor is running away from police problems rather than dealing with them head-on.
And they believe Police Chief Charlie Beck will not punish the officers who were found in violation of department policies in the death of Ezell Ford, “because he’s already said [the officers] were in compliance.”
Cullors continued: “We have unions that protect and shield their officers, even when it means communities are being brutalized.”
Beck has released a YouTube video message to officers stressing that he supports them, the city supports them and the mayor supports them. However, Beck noticeably didn’t include the Police Commission in that statement.
Police Commission President Steve Soboroff addressed that in a message to Bryan:
“Any talk of any lack of L.A. Police Commission support for the men and women of the LAPD, and respect for and caring for officers is incorrect and totally contrary to our actions, feelings and commitments.”