Calling for Responsible Policing and Use of Force Reform

Los Angeles County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Janice Hahn want the Sheriff’s Department and the County’s 46 local police departments to update their Use of Force policies to include eight policies proven to reduce the number of people killed by police. These eight policies have been put forward by Campaign Zero, an advocacy group led by DeRay Mckesson, Samuel Sinyangwe, and Brittany N. Packnett Cunningham which has published vital research on police practices and is developing data-driven policies to end police brutality.

In a motion filed by Hahn and Ridley-Thomas, the Supervisors are urging the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the 46 local police departments in the county to review their use of force policies and adapt them to include the following eight policies outlined by Campaign Zero:

  1. Requiring officers to intervene to stop another officer from using excessive force
  2. Restricting, or prohibiting, the use of chokeholds, strangleholds, and carotid restraints
  3. Requiring officers to de-escalate situations, when possible, before using force
  4. Using a Force Continuum or Matrix that defines and limits the types of force that can be used to respond to specific types of resistance
  5. Requiring officers to give a verbal warning before using deadly force
  6. Prohibiting officers from shooting at people in moving vehicles unless the person poses a deadly threat by means other than the vehicle
  7. Requiring officers to exhaust all other reasonable alternatives before resorting to using deadly force
  8. Requiring comprehensive reporting that includes both uses of force and threats of force

A 2016 analysis by Campaign Zero found that each of these eight reforms was associated with a 15% reduction in police killings for the average police department, and departments that implemented more than four of the reforms saw the largest reduction in killings.  Importantly, departments with more restrictive use of force policies also experienced lower rates of assaults on officers and officers killed in the line of duty.

“The killing of George Floyd once again exposes the harsh reality that the African-American community has to endure in our country. We will not accept this injustice,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “I believe that the eight reforms identified by Campaign Zero in this motion give us specific and clear changes to reduce the use of force by law enforcement that has resulted in this senseless violence. I urge dozens of police agencies in the County to adopt the policies immediately.”

“The people are demanding change,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn.These are eight steps that can be taken right now by all of our law enforcement departments that are proven effective in reducing the number of people killed by police and sheriff’s deputies. Most of the police departments in LA County have already implemented one or two of these policies, but no one has implemented all eight.  I am calling on our Sheriff and all of our local police chiefs to update their use of force policies to include these important restrictions to use of force.  We cannot wait any longer.”

While there are law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County that have made significant steps toward reform, no local law enforcement department has adopted all eight of these policies. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, for example, does not include chokeholds in their training practices. However, chokeholds, strangleholds, carotid restraints, and the knee-on-neck hold that killed George Floyd are not explicitly prohibited in department policy.  Additionally, requiring the reporting of threats of use of force is one of the reforms associated with the highest reduction in police killings, but neither the LASD or Los Angeles Police Department require this type of comprehensive reporting.

In addition to the reforms put forward by Campaign Zero, the Civilian Oversight Commission of the Sheriff’s Department created an Ad Hoc Committee that has, over the past several months, been reviewing and analyzing the Sheriff’s use of force policies in order to make recommendations on how to strengthen these policies. The Civilian Oversight Commission is set to issue these recommendations in the coming weeks. The motion also directs the Civilian Oversight Commission to report back to the Board of Supervisors in 15 days with their recommendations on strengthening LASD’s use of force policies and practices.

Residents Protest Sheriff’s Closure of Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station

Residents served by the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station are mobilizing to protest its closure by Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

“I find the Sheriff’s closing of the Marina del Rey station unacceptable,” said Florence Ochi of the Ladera Heights Civic Association. “The residents of Ladera Heights, View Park, Windsor Hills, Del Rey, as well as Marina del Rey, were blindsided by the Sheriff’s decision.”

“He did not have the courtesy of meeting with any of us to learn about our communities,” she added. “The closure of the station would destroy the respect and trust that has been built in all of our communities.”

The Sheriff had decided to close both Marina del Rey and Altadena stations without any independent vetting by the Los Angeles County’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and without any input from the communities that would be affected. In response, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Kathryn Barger, whose districts include Marina del Rey and Altadena, directing the Sheriff to halt the closures.

“The Sheriff must achieve the necessary cost savings and budget cuts needed to address the Department’s deficit and the County’s revenue shortfall in a more transparent, collaborative and democratic way without jeopardizing service to our communities,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. He criticized not only the lack of transparency in the decision to close the stations, but also the minimal cost savings it would bring.

Residents asked why the Marina del Rey station was singled out for closure when the County CEO presented the Sheriff’s Department with numerous other cost-saving measures. They also expressed concern about the lack of analysis into how the closure would impact public safety and community wellbeing, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a lifelong resident of Windsor Hills, I feel that I speak for my neighbors when I express my displeasure and profound disappointment in the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s station closure,” Windsor Hills resident Toni Mc Donald-Tabor said. “We have always relied on Marina del Rey Sheriff’s station personnel to provide a timely response to our community’s public safety incidents, and we have enjoyed the effective impact of community-based policing. Closing the station will at the very least compromise this and, at worst, eliminate it.”

“We get very concerned any time funding for public safety becomes a battle. We believe that there are far better ways to achieve the budget reductions the Sheriff seeks without causing tragic public safety consequences in our communities,” added John W. Heath, President of the View Park United Homeowners’ Association. “If the Sheriff is seeking a 10% overall reduction in costs across all incorporated patrol areas, let’s make those reductions evenly across all stations instead of forcing our communities to disproportionately suffer from these reductions for a mere $16 million in annual savings.”

As COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact communities of color, residents said increased investment in public safety is critical. They asked Sheriff Villanueva to value their input as constituents and impacted residents, and not close the station.

They also asked members of the public to join them in protesting the closure by calling the Sheriff’s Department at (213) 229-3000.

FAQ’s About the Sheriff’s Announced Closure of the Marina del Rey Station.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas Sheriff’s Station Letter to Constituents.

County to Launch Groundbreaking Partnership to Employ and Feed Los Angeles Seniors

Governor Gavin Newsom recently launched the first-in-the-nation “Great Plates Delivered” program, a meal delivery service for California’s older adults. The County of Los Angeles will be administering this program locally, starting with a partnership between the Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) Department and Unite Here, Local 11’s Hospitality Training Academy (HTA).

“Since the inception of this pandemic, our elderly population has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “This program will not only allow seniors to get the nutrition they need while staying at home, but will also provide employment opportunities for workers in the hospitality industry – one of the first sectors to lay off employees during this crisis.”

Through this partnership, individuals who are considered high risk will be able to stay home and stay healthy, all while providing an essential economic stimulus to local businesses struggling to stay afloat during this crisis. WDACS plans to utilize the HTA’s network of hotels and commercial kitchens to provide three meals a day to 1,500 individuals across the County. Ultimately, the County will expand the program to include local restaurants.

“This innovative program creates jobs for union workers to craft nutritious meals and deliver them to older adults,” said Otto Solórzano, Acting Director of the LA County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services. “This is part of our continued effort to maximize the impact of every taxpayer dollar. We are creating jobs and combating hunger at the same time.”

Unite Here Local 11 represents 31,000 members and 160 hospitality and food service employers in Los Angeles County, Orange County and Arizona. The Hospitality Training Academy provides the only hospitality/food service training program in California that focuses on union employment, providing participants with an opportunity to secure career pathways with good wages and benefits.

“Our members are trained professionals, and we see this as an opportunity to use the massive kitchens that our employers have and put them to good use,” said Susan Minato, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11 and Chair of the HTA. “Our members are proud to share their skills and take proper and safe care of the public in need, much like they take care of guests in the good times.”

Serving our Community is a win-win for the state and for the region; tourism is one of the largest industries in Southern California. Putting people back to work is the first step to bring back the economy of the region,” said Minato.

“I am so happy to be back to work and help provide this service for seniors in need during this crisis,” said Marisa Arellano, a cook at USC.

For more information about joining the program or to request meal delivery, please visit, wdacs.lacounty.gov or call 2-1-1 or 800-510-2020.

 

SEE-LA Launches Farm Box Program to Assist Families During COVID-19

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, in partnership with Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA), Cedars-Sinai, UNITE HERE Local 11, Los Angeles Football Club, Banc of California Stadium and Exposition Park announced the launch of the Farm Box program, a free, healthy, fresh fruit and vegetable giveaway service for 1,100 pre-selected families experiencing COVID-19 related financial hardship in South Los Angeles.

“During this pandemic, families are facing unprecedented financial distress. This partnership is meant to ease the burdens of families across South Los Angeles, providing them with healthy food options that they can cook at home, said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas “In turn, local farmers have the chance to distribute their produce and keep their businesses afloat. It’s a win-win for all.”

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis and necessary “Safer at Home” order, farmer’s markets across the county have been closed. This new program allows networks of regional farmers to create the “farm boxes” of healthy food. The boxes include a week’s worth of fresh seasonal produce, including a dozen eggs, 5-7 varieties of vegetables, 10 pounds of oranges, plenty of berries and information about local public nutrition benefit and incentive programs. SEE-LA’s goal is to feed around 1,100 families weekly, every Wednesday, for the next four weeks.

“SEE-LA is proud to participate in this project supporting families and regional farmers whose livelihoods have both been impacted by COVID-19. We are grateful to Supervisor Ridley-Thomas and Cedars Sinai for making it possible,” said SEE-LA’s Director of Farmers’ Market Operations Elizabeth Bowman. ” For nearly 20 years, we have worked to address the cruel disparities in fresh food access in South LA, a public health crisis that has only been deepened by the current pandemic. We’ve partnered with five of these farms – all of whom have lost one or more farmers’ markets in the last few weeks – to provide the produce for this distribution. Ayala, C&L, Castellanos, Don Beto’s, and Divine farms are thankful for the opportunity to continue serving the families of South LA.”

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Stephen Gutwillig (Executive President, Sustainable Enterprise of Los Angeles)

SEE-LA is the largest operator of nonprofit farmers markets in Southern California, with three markets in South Los Angeles (MLK Outpatient Center, Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza and Central Ave Market). The Office of Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has subsidized the market at the MLK campus since it launched over two years ago.

Numerous partners came together to make this giveaway possible. Unite Here Local 11 members, many of whom have been fired or furloughed due to the COVID-19 crisis, along with families living in public housing in South Los Angeles, which is managed by the Los Angeles County Development Authority, will receive the boxes.

“The food I received today will help me put food on my family’s table,” said Yanet Palacios, Uniform Attendant at the LINE Hotel. “I am happy that my union is fighting hard for us during this time.”

“We are proud to partner with Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas and provide this vital resource to our members and their families.” said Susan Minato Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.

The Office of Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Cedars-Sinai and the Fredric D Rosen and Nadine Schiff Family Foundation have provided financial sponsorship for the initiative; while the Los Angeles Football Club, Banc of California Stadium and Exposition Park have supported through a donation of the site and equipment. LAFC also facilitated the donation of packaged food, as well as personal protective equipment for the 50 volunteers affiliated with Cedars Sinai and Unite Here Local 11 that distributed the boxes.

“It’s times like these where hospitals, elected officials, and other civic institutions need to come together to support their fellow Angelenos. Cedars-Sinai is proud to work with the Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas in launching this effort,” commented Erin Jackson-Ward Associate Director, of Community Benefit for Cedars-Sinai.

LAFC and Banc of California Stadium are committed to being a force for good in the community during this difficult time,” said LAFC President and Co-Owner Tom Penn. “We are proud to work with such incredible organizations and local leaders to offer our resources for such an important initiative.”

The Time to Vote has Come

 

Photo Courtesy of L.A. County Registrar-Recorder

 

Dear Residents,

As we come down to the final days to vote, I want to encourage you all to cast your ballot.

The County has rolled out a new voting experience to make voting more accessible and convenient. Having only one place and one day to vote is now a thing of the past.

There are 977 Vote Centers open all over Los Angeles County with people who are ready to help you vote. You may cast your ballot in-person at any Vote Center.

If you can’t make it out to vote during the day, there are six Vote Centers that will be open through the night, until the polls close tomorrow at 8 pm on March 3rd:

  • Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel: 11461 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, 90049
  • Four Points by Sheraton LAX Hotel: 9750 Airport Blvd, Los Angeles, 90045
  • East LA Doctors Hospital: 4060 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles, 90023
  • Hilton Garden Inn: 27710 The Old Rd, Valencia, 91355
  • Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Headquarters: 12400 Imperial Hwy, Norwalk, 90650
  • The Great Caesar’s Banquet Hall: 6723 Foothill Blvd, Tujunga, 91042

Sample Ballots are available online if you want to make your selections before arriving at the Vote Center.  You can even create a Poll Pass (QR code) – like an airline boarding pass, that can be scanned at the Vote Center to save you time.

Lastly, many of you have chosen to vote-by-mail so I want to remind you to sign the back of the envelope and drop it in the mail, or at any Vote Center by March 3rd.

Let’s all exercise our hard-fought right to vote and be counted!

All this and more information is available at lavote.net

Phone: (800) 815-2666

Email: voterinfo@rrcc.lacounty.gov

With hope,

Mark Ridley-Thomas

Supervisor, Second District