Continued Over-Saturation of LAPD and Lack of Mental Health Teams in Skid Row

As reported many times on this blog, LA CAN members are adamantly opposed to the Safer Cities Initiative (SCI) and the ongoing actions of between 40 and 100 additional officers SCI brought to the Skid Row community in 2006. We have witnessed several “maximum enforcement days” over the past few weeks – escalating the police state once again.

As a form of harm reduction, our CommunityWatch teams monitor police activity daily to attempt to prevent civil rights violations. This video shows the extreme over-saturation of police officers, as well as raises serious questions about why this man needed to have a hood placed over his head, held like that on the public sidewalk, and why he was taken away in an ambulance – we can only assume it was because of physical injury or mental health condition.

If it was related to mental health, where were the specially-trained SMART team LAPD officers? Why were there dozens of uniformed police officers there? And why was at least one LAPD officer taking photos of this man, in the hood, with what appears to be his personal camera? An inquiry has been made to Central Bureau command staff, but to date they have given no response to the community.

This and dozens of other incidents has led to a community recommendation to LAPD and the Police Commission that SMART team officers be increased in the Skid Row community.  On March 8th, LAPD reported to the Commission that additional SMART teams weren’t needed and there weren’t enough resources to add officers.  However, the Commission did not accept that report and a sub-committee is meeting on this urgent issue.   We ask, couldn’t a few of the dozens of officers that respond to these incidents be shifted to the SMART team?

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