Most LAPD 2021 Shots Against Homeless, Mentally Ill: Report

Of the 37 shootings by Los Angeles police officers in 2021, 10 were during encounters with people experiencing homelessness and 15 were during encounters with people who they believe have mental illness, according to a report released Tuesday by the department.

LAPD Captain. Scott Williams and Assistant Chief Dominic Choi presented the 2021 annual use of force report and the Los Angeles Police Commission on the third day. A more detailed review of the report will be given to commissioners on May 3.

The 37 shootings by LAPD officers in 2021 marked the highest amount since 2017.

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The number of people with mental illness that the police turned to when an officer opened fire in 2021 represents an increase of nine compared to six of the previous year. The number of homeless people approached by police who opened fire rose from zero in the previous year. The department sees someone as suffering from a mental illness if they documented contact with a mental assessment unit before the shooting.

“As presented today, we see from this report, it highlights significant challenges that we are still facing. 41 percent of the shootings involving officers in 2021 involved someone who was probably experiencing a mental problem. This fact alone underscores the need for mental health care providers in our city. It is also used to illustrate the reasons why police officers need additional training in this area, “said Police Commissioner William Briggs.

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Choi told commissioners the department is working to train officers in mental health intervention training, and 4,676 officers have completed the training so far. He added that the department is seeking to expand pilot programs that provide alternatives to police in certain situations. The department’s diversion program with Didi Hirsch, launched in 2021, diverted 1,642 applications related to mental health problems last year and more than 400 applications so far this year.

“Our department is even more challenged when we look at 38% of the suspects involved in the shooting (mixed officer) had sharp weapons. I did not hide my position on how situations involving sharp weapons should be handled. What we would like to see is more escalation than non-use of force. Lethal before applying lethal force in these situations, “Briggs added.

The number of times police opened fire while in contact with people with sharp weapons in 2021 was 14, representing a 19% increase over the 10-year average and a 100% increase over 2020.
Meanwhile, the number of times that a policeman opened fire while making contact with someone with a weapon was 15, or 41% of the police shooting at -2021 – 18% below the average of 10 years.
Choi told commissioners that the department had recently developed training aimed at reducing encounters with people who used weapons.

Of the 37 police shots fired, 17 were fatal, 14 of which resulted in injuries and six without casualties. Twenty-four of the victims were Hispanics, seven were black, five were white and one was classified as “another.”

The department made a total of more than 1.324 million documented contacts with the public in 2021, and about 0.0027% of them resulted in officers firing their weapons, the department said. A total of 2,312 cases of use of force were recorded during contact with the public, representing 0.17% of all public contacts.

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