Community Relations Starts With How the LAPD Treats the Families of Those They Kill

We’re not against the police. We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct (and those who help cover it up)

 

I’m going to keep this short and sweet.

I am so sick and tired of having to see the parents and relatives of those killed by the Los Angeles Police Department cry, scream and beg for information week in and week out at the Police Commission meetings. It is emotionally exhausting and I’m just a bystander.

Today it was Lisa Simpson, the mother of 18-year-old Richard Risher who was killed July 25 in the Watts Nickerson Gardens housing projects.

While the mainstream media rarely reports on this, families reduced to begging in public for information on the death of their loved one at the hands of the Department is a weekly phenomenon. As the bodies stack up, so do the number of families trudging down to 100 West First Street on Tuesday mornings looking for answers.

Whether the LAPD feels like a particular officer-involved-shooting was justified or not, there’s no excuse with the amount of resources including officers dedicated to community relations for there not to be at least two officers dedicated to just dealing with these families. Between the need for police reports for insurance purposes and other information, they know that these families are going to be looking to them for information.   Now I know, as the families know, that the LAPD is not going to be able to divulge certain information. Who were the cops involved? What has the investigation uncovered so far? It doesn’t mean they won’t ask because the death of a relative is emotional, I get that. But tell these people something. Do not just ignore them until Tuesday comes around and they’re back in front of the Police Commission crying and asking for answers–again.

Cut the red tape on families obtaining police reports and other documents needed for them to do what they need to do. Make it mandatory that a designated family member, or attorney in most cases, is called at least once a month while officer-involved-shooting is under investigation and at least once a week in the first three weeks of the initial incident. It’s not rocket science and it might help stave off some of the criticism and weekly trips by families in mourning who feel forced to attend the Police Commission meetings in search of answers.

Both the LAPD and the Police Commission should and can do better in this area. Especially the Police Commission since they are supposed to be always working on improving service to the public by the police department.  Plus as an added bonus, it might help to avoid those pesky Risk Management and civil liability concerns the Department and City Attorney are always concerned with.

Community relations starts with how the LAPD treats the families of those they kill. If they can’t get it right with them, what hope is there for the rest of us?

The Court of Public Opinion