Community Control Over the Police!

Protest is not a strategy! To solve the problems in our community, we must develop a program to win power. The police can not police themselves and the existing LAPD police commission does not have subpoena power nor disciplinary authority.

After the 2005 LAPD killing of 13 year old Devin Brown, Cliff Smith founded the Coalition for Community Control Over the Police, recognizing that the only solution is democratic, community control through an all-elected, all-civilian, police control board with full authority over the department in all aspects at all levels. The city council has the power to raise a ballot measure to amend the city charter for community control!

The LAPD police commission must be replaced After each of the L.A. police killings of unarmed Ezell Ford, and 13 year old, unarmed Devin Brown, and 55 year old, 102 pound, homeless Margaret Mitchell, the LAPD’s police commission’s investigation concluded that the police use of force was “out of policy” and unjustified. But the police commission can only recommend discipline to the department, which in each case, protected the officers and no disciplinary action followed.

The secret, internal LAPD “Board of Rights” is a facade of accountability. The community has been told that civilians on the Board of Rights will ensure accountability and justice. The BoR operates secretly within the LAPD’s command structure and has no separation or independence from the department. When officers ever face discipline, they may choose to appeal to the BoR, and they may also choose a civilian BoR rather than an officer BoR. Either way, the BoR is internal to the police structure, secret and unaccountable. Historically, civilians on BoR’s have imposed even less discipline than have officers on BoR’s. The BoR discipline may not be exceeded even by the chief.

The city charter must be amended! The LAPD police commission, Board of Rights and command structure are written into the city charter. To establish democratic community control over the police, accountability and transparency, we must amend the city charter and establish an all-elected, all-civilian, police control board.

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