ANAHEIM (CBSLA) — There’s a pattern and practice of excessive and deadly force used by the Anaheim Police Department.
So deadly, according to a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union, that the number of officer-involved deaths over the last three years in Anaheim have exceeded the killings by officers at major police departments such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York per capita. And compared to the California average the ACLU says Anaheim’s numbers were higher in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
“There’s a pattern and practice of excessive and deadly force used by Anaheim PD,” said Jennifer Rojas, ACLU policy advocate.
The Anaheim Police Department is disputing the findings, saying there are inaccuracies.
Anaheim’s acting Police Chief Julian Harvey takes issue with the section of the report that puts his department as the 9th deadliest among the 60 largest US cities.
“This report, after an initial review, we found several misstatements, several inaccuracies — two of which involve very significant events. One of which if it was corrected would drop us from being the 9th deadliest city as the report indicates to the 28th,” said Chief Harvey.
Chief Harvey says one of the deaths in the report was found by the coroner to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound rather than a shooting by an officer.
From 2003 through last year, 33 people were killed by on-duty Anaheim officers according to the report. The ACLU says nearly 40 percent of them were unarmed.
“Anaheim is the ‘City of Kindness.’ It is not only one of the safest cities in the US but was also recently ranked second safest in terms of violent crime in the US of the fifty largest cities,” said Rojas. “Yet the Anaheim Police Department is also one of the deadliest departments.”
Chief Harvey says last year in Anaheim there were more than 200,000 calls for service and he says that 98 percent of them were resolved with no force.
Tuesday the ACLU will bring its findings to the Anaheim City Council and that’s because in the next few weeks the council is going to decide how to move forward with its civilian review board of the police department.