LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The ACLU of Southern California welcomes the civil rights probe being conducted by the Department of Justice into the polices and practices of the Inglewood Police Department in the wake of a series of officer-involved shootings, and we applaud U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters for calling for an investigation. Use of force by law enforcement has been a persistent problem in Inglewood and has sparked well-founded community outrage. We agree that reforms are necessary and call for an overhaul of the Inglewood civilian review board.

The following statement can be attributed to Peter Bibring, staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California:

“The Department of Justice now acknowledges what the community has long known: the Inglewood Police Department suffers from deep-seated and structural flaws. Its standards for use of force do not meet legal requirements, its systems for reporting and reviewing uses of force are inadequate, supervisors lack control over officers, and the process for receiving and evaluating civilian complaints is erratic. The result is a broken system that fails the residents of Inglewood and costs lives.

“The situation has spun out of control precisely because there is no system in place that holds either officers or supervisors accountable. The current Inglewood Citizen Police Oversight Commission lacks both sufficient authority and resources to meaningfully hold officers responsible for their behavior.

“To root out the systemic problems pointed out by the Department of Justice, Inglewood must embrace the changes the federal agency rightly calls for. But, to ensure accountability, it must also put in place an independent review board, one that has the powers necessary to fully investigate police misconduct, one that can initiate its own investigations and policy reviews, and one whose funding is free from the winds of city politics.

“Only when every Inglewood police officer, from rookie to chief, is held accountable by an independent oversight body, will the city be able to fix its police department’s flaws.”