All-civilian discipline panels are more lenient with LAPD officers, report finds
LAPD officers assigned to the all-civilian discipline boards are found, on average, to be more lenient in their findings of wrongdoing than civilians on the same panels, according to findings released Monday by the department.
The findings come as L.A. City Council prepares to review the department’s use of the discipline boards after a series of investigations released by watchdog City Watch. Critics of the practice said they believe the boards are an unnecessary and ineffective punishment for LAPD officers.
The department has set up the all-civilian discipline boards to ensure compliance with the city’s requirement of diversity in police forces and has sought to avoid the scrutiny of the Los Angeles Police Commission, which monitors discipline boards. The commission, however, found that LAPD officials had improperly sought to control the disciplinary panels.
The findings come as the city prepared to review the use of the civilian discipline boards in three areas: the discipline of five police officers who were arrested and charged with child rape and child sexual abuse, the discipline of three other officers charged with civil rights violations and the discipline of two other officers, including one who was fired, for failure to show up for police duties.
The panel, however, found that LAPD officials had made efforts to ensure compliance with the city’s diversity and inclusion policy by hiring minority officers to staff the boards. It also found that the civilian boards were less biased toward civilians and the LAPD officers for whom they were created than a civilian panel and that those in the panels had a greater understanding of the department’s discipline policies than in a civilian board.
The findings, however, did not change the department’s position that officers on civilian boards should not be disciplined if the evidence found in a case could not be proven in court.
“We found there are significant differences between the civilian and the civilian board regarding the manner in which the allegations were investigated, and discipline was determined and the impact, if any, that these differences have on discipline