LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11) - The vote was unanimous. The Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners approved new use of force language Tuesday that basically says officers shall use distance, time and other techniques to attempt to de-escalate potentially explosive incidents.
Approximately 7,000 officers have already been trained on this, and the vote put it into official words. According to Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, "language is important."
"Commissioners always say that and I say it too," Beck explained. "What the organization puts as its use of force policy affects our outcomes, so it's very important not just to put out the policy, but to have the training that matches it."
Beck said this idea of de-escalation will continue to be engrained in the fabric of the Los Angeles Police Department. It's been in the works for a year.
Ironically, the mood in the commission meeting room escalated in anger over a number of things, including the police shooting of Keith Bursey, Jr. who was shot to death outside a liquor store in South Los Angeles. Police said it happened during a scuffle after Bursey was stopped near Slauson and Brynhurst in June of 2016.
Bursey's girlfriend, Candace McDowell, said she's been in "everlasting pain" since the shooting.
McDowell believes police were too quick to act when Bursey turned around and tried to run.
"They asked Keith and the passenger to exit the back seat and the front seat, and Keith got out of the car and he turned around and he was shot in his back," McDowell told FOX 11. "He was gunned down."
After a closed-door meeting of the police commission, it was announced that the Bursey shooting was "within policy."
Meanwhile, the LAPD released a copy of its Use of Force study for the year ending 2016, which among other things, shows officer-involved-shootings were down by 17 percent.
LAPD officials said the 400-plus page report will be available at www.LAPDOnline.org.
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