Please attribute the following statement on today’s protest over the investigation into the Los Angeles Police Department’s fatal shooting of Redel Jones to Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California (ACLU SoCal).
The protests taking place today at Los Angeles City Hall over the Police Commission’s ruling that two LAPD officers who shot and killed Redel Jones acted within the department’s deadly force policy are yet another reminder of the long running lack of trust between LAPD and many of the communities it serves.
As tensions throughout the nation rise in the wake of the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, and the retaliatory murders of five police officers in Dallas, the LAPD must take responsibility for ensuring and demonstrating to the public that its standards for use of force are in line with the community’s values and that it holds officers accountable to those standards. While LAPD officials have repeatedly voiced their commitment to bridge the chasm that has long separated it from the communities it serves, it too often demands unconditional trust from the public rather than earning it through strong commitment to transparency and accountability. When the LAPD and the Police Commission adopt strategies like their flawed body camera policy – which withholds videos from the public but allows officers under investigation to view them before talking to investigators – city leaders should not be surprised that the public does not trust other decisions made behind closed doors. When transparency is absent, what the community experiences is not a police department exercising its authority but asserting its power, and that shouldn’t happen in a democratic society.
The ACLU SoCal stands in support of peaceful protests to call attention to the critical need for strong relations between the police and all of our diverse communities.
We remind protestors to know their rights. Learn more about your rights to demonstrate and download our Mobile Justice California smartphone app: If you believe your rights have been violated, contact the ACLU SoCal or your local ACLU affiliate.