Yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council and the U.S. Department of Justice have agreed to enter into a consent decree, mandating a series of reform measures for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), in the wake of an evolving scandal surrounding brutality charges, among other alleged offenses. The proposed consent decree includes a provision for the collection of data on the race of people subjected to vehicle and pedestrian stops and provides for an independent monitor to ensure that the agreed-upon reforms are put in place. “The consent decree contains many strong provisions addressing police brutality and corruption,” said Katherine Spillar, National Coordinator of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “However, the City Council and the Department of Justice failed to incorporate a gender-balance hiring requirement that would have dramatically reduced police brutality as more women were hired into the force.” On Monday, the Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Center for Women and Policing (NCWP) issued a report on police brutality documenting a huge gender difference in police brutality lawsuits. The report found that male officers in the LAPD are involved in excessive force and misconduct lawsuits at rates substantially higher than their female counterparts.
“The consent decree unfortunately also failed to include provisions for outside oversight of the LAPD system of investigating and prosecuting police officers involved in domestic violence incidents,” Spillar noted. The LAPD has a history of failure to properly prosecute officers who engage in domestic violence. Studies have shown that up to 40 percent of male law enforcement officers commit domestic violence abuse themselves.