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Los Angeles: On June 23, 2004 officers from the Los Angeles Police Department were involved in a pursuit with a stolen vehicle, followed by a foot chase of the suspect, Stanley Miller. At the end of the foot chase, as Miller was taken into custody, there was a use of force. Both the pursuit and foot chase were televised and showed an officer from the LAPD using force, hitting Mr. Miller with a flashlight.
Following the arrest the LAPD promised four things:
That we would completely investigate this matter and, if appropriate, hold individual officers accountable for actions that were violations of the law, or outside of our policies, training and procedures.
That we would conduct a criminal investigation, complete and submit it to the District Attorney’s Office within 60 days.
That our investigations and our actions would be as transparent as the law allowed during our investigation of this event.
That our actions would be dictated by the processes and procedures established by state and federal law, by the Federal Consent decree and by the best investigative practices in policing.
Today the Department is announcing that it has fulfilled all of these promises.
A timely, exhaustive and thorough investigation has been conducted. From the outset this was treated as a serious matter with the immediate initiation of comprehensive administrative and criminal investigations.
Both the Inspector General and the Federal Consent Degree monitor were immediately asked to be a part of the investigation, not just to observe but also to offer investigative suggestions and insights. The Department treated them as valuable oversight members with the ability to propose different investigative strategies and options.
Other law enforcement agencies were also asked to participate in the investigation. In a unique and unprecedented investigative tactic, a number of our neighborhood canvases were done by teams of LAPD detectives partnered with FBI agents, with the FBI taking the lead. Information from the investigation has been provided to the United States Department of Justice as they have monitored the case.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was also involved from the beginning of the investigation.
The LAPD has repeatedly worked to keep key community, political and other interested stakeholders, including our own personnel, informed of what was taking place. Again, from the moment this incident occurred, the Department has shared everything that the law allows, with all of the stakeholder groups and the media.
California law severely restricts what the Department can share publicly. Police officers are entitled to the same rights as every citizen.
Personnel records, which include discipline information and citizen complaints, are confidential except in certain, limited circumstances. Today the Department is only able to announce the conclusion of the administrative investigation without disclosing the specific decisions made as to discipline.
With the filing of administrative charges, there is a very specific process that follows depending on whether the officers decide to accept or contest the initial determination of guilt or innocence and Chief William Bratton’s imposition of penalty. Officers can "opt" for a board of rights (the officer chooses to contest the penalty imposed) vs. "directed" boards of rights (an officer is sent to a board of right because the Chief wishes to impose a penalty greater than a 22 day suspension). Under the LAPD system, the Chief of Police is not allowed to directly state whether he wants the officer fired.
One of our key promises has been to follow the appropriate processes. The consent decree and the various policies and procedures are important and the Department will follow them. Certain key dates and timelines have been met in this case.
This incident occurred on June 23, 2005:
The LAPD provided the District Attorney’s Office with a full and complete criminal investigation on August 20, 2004
The District Attorney Office rejected any criminal filing February 3, 2005
The LAPD completed the Administrative, internal investigation on February 8, 2005
On February 24, 2005 the involved officers were given notice of the intended discipline and allowed, pursuant to State Law, to respond to that notice. Both the law and basic fairness requires that the officers be given adequate notice of the charges against them and be allowed to respond. That was done.
Chief Bratton received the case on April 15. After an extensive review of the evidence, the recommendations and the responses from the officers, Chief Bratton imposed discipline for the individual officers and signed charge sheets on April 26, 2005. The case now moves into its final phase in terms of imposition of discipline.