After noticing an “alarming” rise in LAPD violence, Los Angeles Police Commission President Matt Johnson unveiled a plan on Tuesday to reduce police shootings, which have doubled in 2015 from last year.
His announcement comes just a few weeks after filmmaker Quentin Tarantino hurled the issue back into the national spotlight while participating in an anti-police brutality rally, where he referred to cops who have killed suspects during arrests as “murderers.” The statement has garnered considerable outrage from police organizations across the country, but the “Hateful Eight” director defended himself by clarifying, “All cops are not murderers.”
Johnson is concerned about a “crisis of confidence” in the department among the city’s minority residents in the wake of a fatal shooting Monday that marked the 34th time that a police shooting this year has resulted in a death or injury. Johnson also cited that officers have opened fire in the line of duty 45 times in 2015, compared to 23 times during the same period last year.
“Despite the progress the LAPD has made, we are living in challenging times,” he said. “The LAPD, like police departments across our country, is facing a crisis of confidence with minority communities, particularly African Americans. As a result of both real and perceived racial disparities in policing, there are deepening wounds in Los Angeles and cities across our country.”
In an effort to reduce the number of times officers feel the need to use force, Johnson wants to incorporate extensive training and tactical changes, along with the implementation of body cameras and wider distribution of non-lethal weapons, including Tasers and bean-bag shotguns.
“Culture and habits do not change overnight,” he continued. “We will have to reward excellence and hold accountable those who do not comply. We cannot expect to change behavior if there are not real consequences for those found to be out of policy.”
TheWrap reached out to Johnson for his thoughts on Tarantino’s position on the issue, but the Police Commission president was not available for comment.