NAACP Outraged By Death Of 13-Year-Old At Hands Of LAPDFebruary 09, 2005
Community raises questions regarding police procedures
NAACP Interim President and CEO Dennis Courtland Hayes is calling for a full investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department and the U.S. Justice Department into the needless death of a 13-year old boy shot by a police officer on Sunday.
The fatal shooting of Devin Brown, who was pursued as an auto-theft suspect, has prompted questions by community leaders over why the police department has not changed its policy on firing at moving vehicles as promised one year ago.
Hayes said, "We are calling on everyone in the community to demand justice in a system that tolerates such behavior. The NAACP will follow up on the police department's promise to revise its policy on the use of deadly force when the case is presented in front of the LAPD Police Commission in 45 days."
In 2004, after a police officer shot and killed a motorist in Santa Monica, the LAPD Chief of Police William J. Bratton announced that he would place new restrictions on officers firing at moving vehicles and on the apprehension of fleeing suspects.
The shooting of Brown comes at a time when black residents are still upset over two other recent news events involving the LAPD. Last week the Los Angeles County District Attorney chose not to prosecute the LAPD officer who used a flashlight in the 2004 beating of a black car thief during an arrest. In a case last month, a jury awarded $1.6 million to a former police officer who was captured on videotape slamming a black teenager onto the trunk of a patrol car. In the lawsuit, the white officer claimed race discrimination because he was treated more harshly than black officers on the case.
Currently the LAPD manual states that "firing at or from moving vehicles is generally prohibited." However, officers are now entitled to use deadly force to protect themselves if they are in imminent danger, which is ultimately decided by the police department.
Geraldine Washington, President of the NAACP Los Angeles chapter, has requested several meetings with the LAPD to discuss this and prior incidents involving police policies and procedures.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are frontline advocates for civil rights in their communities and monitor equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.
CONTACT: NAACP Office of Communications 410.580.5125