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Push for Federal Oversight of Inglewood Police

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By Kamika Dunlap on January 14, 2010 11:45 AM

One California Congresswoman, Rep. Maxine Waters, is pushing for federal oversight of Inglewood police department.

She is determined to do so after a report released by the U.S. Department of Justice, which found significant flaws in police policies covering use of force.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a comprehensive review by the Justice Department found Inglewood's police policies on the use of force are poorly written and legally inadequate despite recent reform efforts. In addition, a 33-page letter to the city's mayor from federal officials calls for numerous changes in the way the department trains and investigates its officers.

Here is the official report by the Justice Department.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles said she is shocked by the number of people killed by Inglewood police and is looking into getting a federal court to oversee the department.

She is inquiring into a possible federal consent decree. The decree could require the department to show a federal judge and an independent monitor that it had made progress in making reform.

Los Angeles County's Office of Independent Review spent a year reviewing the Inglewood police, but the City Council has refused to make the findings public despite protests.

The 220-member force operates in a small city south of Los Angeles that is notorious for gang violence.

At the root of the problem, the Justice Department found an apparent conflict of interest by routinely assigning certain excessive force investigations to the same supervisors who wrote or approved the initial police report.

Among the Justice Department's conclusions:

  • The agency's rules on using deadly force are vague and inconsistent with U.S. Supreme Court guidelines. "The majority of the [department's] policies and procedures are outdated," federal officials said.
  • The department provides its officers with "little direction" on when to use electric Taser weapons. The city should prohibit officers from using Tasers on suspects who are restrained.
  • The Police Department should create an early warning system to better track excessive force complaints and other conduct.

 

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