All-civilian discipline panels are more lenient with LAPD officers, report finds
The first year of a civilian review panel — the first step toward possibly censoring a particular officer or department — has not found evidence to change a police department’s disciplinary process, according to a report released Thursday.
The report, by the Los Angeles Police Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice, found that LAPD’s civilian-panel discipline system has not led to a larger drop in misconduct or crime. However, the report said that in some instances, it can increase the chances of being recommended for administrative separation, or for an internal review by a three-member panel.
“This is a system that is not out of control,” Commissioner James Cohen told reporters Thursday. “Our discipline system is one we believe should be used, should be allowed to be used, and should continue to be used.”
The report, which was prepared in response to a city council motion to study the LAPD’s disciplinary process, also found that the LAPD did not violate the civil rights of black residents, the Los Angeles Times reports.
However, the LAPD’s practice of putting a suspect into a holding cell, then releasing him back into the community, violates the department’s own policies, the report said.
In some cases, the commission found, the LAPD used the department’s internal affairs process in order to cover-up a crime even after a criminal investigation has concluded it was not committed by the officer involved.
In some instances, the civilian review process resulted in the officer being fired from the LAPD.
The report came two years after the LAPD began using the civilian discipline system, which resulted in police officers receiving five and six day suspensions for minor offenses.
Under the civilian review system, one officer would be picked for discipline at six month intervals and there would be three civilian review panels to pick between. The LAPD had previously used 10-day suspensions for minor offenses.
The civilian review process does not