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Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable Secures Release of LAPD Deadly Force Policy

Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson called for full public disclosure of the LAPD's use of force guidelines in the wake of the slaying of Carnell Snell, Jr. Following a discussion with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in which Hutchinson called on the Mayor to expedite the release, the guidelines were made public.

Public disclosure is critical to clarify for the public, stakeholders, the media, and affected family members exactly when, and under what circumstances officers can use deadly force. This has been the single greatest source of confusion, rancor, and hostility. Here are the key points in the LAPD police manual on lethal force.



Deadly Force.  Law enforcement officers are authorized to use deadly force to:


  • Protect themselves or others from what is reasonably believed to be an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury; or,
  • Prevent a crime where the suspect’s actions place person(s) in imminent jeopardy of death or serious bodily injury; or,
  • Prevent the escape of a violent fleeing felon when there is probable cause to believe the escape will pose a significant threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or others if apprehension is delayed.  In this circumstance, officers shall, to the extent practical, avoid using deadly force that might subject innocent bystanders or hostages to possible death or injury.


The reasonableness of an officer's use of deadly force includes consideration of the officer's tactical conduct and decisions leading up to the use of deadly force.


Warning Shots.  Warning shots shall only be used in exceptional circumstances where it might reasonably be expected to avoid the need to use deadly force.  Generally, warning shots shall be directed in a manner that minimizes the risk of injury to innocent persons, ricochet dangers and property damage.


Shooting At or From Moving Vehicles.  Firearms shall not be discharged at a moving vehicle unless a person in the vehicle is immediately threatening the officer or another person with deadly force by means other than the vehicle.  The moving vehicle itself shall not presumptively constitute a threat that justifies an officer’s use of deadly force.  An officer threatened by an oncoming vehicle shall move out of its path instead of discharging a firearm at it or any of its occupants.  Firearms shall not be discharged from a moving vehicle, except in exigent circumstances and in the immediate defense of life.


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Earl Ofari Hutchinson, national commentator and radio host, slices through the political spin to provide insight on today's news.

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