Policy on the Use of Force – Revised

News Release

Monday, June 29, 2020

June 29, 2020

ALL PROPOSED CHANGES ARE
ITALICIZED


OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF
POLICE

SPECIAL ORDER NO.

APPROVED BY THE BOARD OF POLICE
COMMISSIONERS ON

SUBJECT: POLICY ON THE USE OF FORCE – REVISED

PURPOSE: On September 12,
2019, Senate Bill 230 was signed into law by California Governor
Gavin Newson. This new law requires each law enforcement
agency to maintain a policy, effective January 1, 2021, that
provides guidelines on the use of
force, utilizing de-escalation techniques and other alternatives to
force when feasible, specific
guidelines for the application of deadly force, and factors for
evaluating and reviewing all use of
force incidents, among other specified items. This Order revises
Department Manual Section
1/556.10, Policy on Use of Force, in order to conform to this new
law.

PROCEDURE:

I. PREAMBLE TO USE OF
FORCE.
The use of force by members of law enforcement is a
matter of critical concern both to the public and the law
enforcement community. It is recognized that some individuals will
not comply with the law or submit to control unless compelled to do
so by the use of force; therefore, law enforcement officers are
sometimes called upon to use force in the performance of their
duties. The Los Angeles Police
Department
also recognizes that members of law enforcement
derive their authority from the public and therefore must be ever
mindful that they are not only the guardians but also the servants
of the public.

The Department’s guiding principle when using force shall be
reverence for human life. Officers shall attempt to control an
incident by using time, distance, communication, and available
resources in an effort to de-escalate the situation, whenever it is
safe, feasible and reasonable to do so. As stated below, when
warranted, Department personnel may use objectively reasonable
force to carry out their duties. Officers may use deadly force only
when they reasonably believe, based on the totality of
circumstances, that such force is necessary in defense of human
life. Officers who use unreasonable force degrade the confidence of
the community we serve, expose fellow officers to physical hazards,
violate the law and rights of individuals upon whom unreasonable
force or unnecessary deadly force is used, and subject the
Department and themselves to potential civil and criminal
liability. Conversely, officers who fail to use force when
warranted may endanger themselves, the community and fellow
officers.

II. POLICY.
Use of De-Escalation
Techniques.
It is the policy of this Department that,
whenever feasible, officers shall use techniques and tools
consistent with Department de-escalation training to reduce the
intensity of any encounter with a suspect and enable an officer to
have additional options to mitigate the need to use a higher level
of force while maintaining control of the situation.

Verbal Warnings. Where
feasible, a peace officer shall, prior to the use of any force,
make reasonable efforts to identify themselves as a peace officer
and to warn that force may be used, unless the officer has
objectively reasonable grounds to believe that the person is aware
of those facts.

Proportionality. Officers may only use
a level of force that they reasonably believe is proportional to
the seriousness of the suspected offense or the reasonably
perceived level of actual or threatened resistance.

Fair and Unbiased Policing. Officers
shall carry out their duties, including use of force, in a manner
that is fair and unbiased. Discriminatory conduct on the basis of
race, religion, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender,
gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, housing
status, or disability while preforming any law enforcement activity
is prohibited.

Use of Force – Non-Deadly.
It is the policy of this Department that personnel may use only
that force which is “objectively reasonable” to:

• Defend themselves;
• Defend others;
• Effect an arrest or detention;
• Prevent escape; or,
• Overcome resistance.

Factors Used to Determine
Objective Reasonableness.
Pursuant to the opinion issued by the
United States Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor, the Department
examines the reasonableness of any particular force used: a) from
the perspective of a reasonable Los Angeles Police Officer with
similar training and experience, in the same situation; and b)
based on the facts and circumstances of each particular
case.
Those factors may include, but are not limited to:

• The feasibility of using de-escalation tactics,
crisis intervention or other
alternatives to force;

• The seriousness of the crime or suspected offense;
• The level of threat or resistance presented by the subject;
• Whether the subject was posing an immediate threat to officers or
a danger
to the community;
• The potential for injury to citizens, officers or subjects;
• The risk or apparent attempt by the subject to escape;
• The conduct of the subject being confronted (as reasonably
perceived by
the officer at the time);
• The amount of time and any changing circumstances during which
the
officer had to determine the type and amount of force that appeared
to be reasonable;
• The availability of other resources;
• The training and experience of the officer;
• The proximity or access of weapons to the subject;
• Officer versus subject factors such as age, size, relative
strength, skill
level, injury/exhaustion and number of officers versus subjects;
and,
• The environmental factors and/or other exigent
circumstances.

Drawing or Exhibiting Firearms.
Unnecessarily or prematurely drawing or exhibiting a firearm
limits an officer’s alternatives in controlling a situation,
creates unnecessary anxiety on the part of citizens, and may
result in an unwarranted or accidental discharge of the firearm.
Officers shall not draw or exhibit a firearm unless the
circumstances surrounding the incident create a reasonable belief
that it may be necessary to use the firearm. When an officer has
determined that the use of deadly force is not necessary, the
officer shall, as soon as practicable, secure or holster the
firearm. Any drawing and exhibiting of a firearm shall conform
with this policy on the use of firearms. Moreover, any
intentional pointing of a firearm at a person by an officer shall
be reported. Such reporting will be published in the Department’s
year-end use of force report.

Use of Force – Deadly. It
is the policy of this Department that officers shall use deadly
force upon another person only when the officer reasonably
believes, based on the totality of circumstances, that such force
is necessary for either of the following reasons:

• To defend against an imminent threat of death or serious
bodily injury to
the officer or to another person; or
• To apprehend a fleeing person for any felony that threatened or
resulted in
death or serious bodily injury, if the officer reasonably believes
that the person will cause death or serious bodily injury to
another unless immediately apprehended.

In determining whether deadly force is necessary, officers shall
evaluate each situation in light of the particular circumstances
of each case and shall use other available resources and
techniques if reasonably safe and feasible. Before discharging a firearm, officers
shall consider their surroundings and potential risks to
bystanders to the extent reasonable under the
circumstances.

Note: Because the
application of deadly force is limited to the above scenarios, an
officer shall not use deadly force against a person based on the
danger that person poses to themselves, if an objectively
reasonable officer would believe the person does not pose an
imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer
or another person.

Department’s Evaluation of
Deadly Force.
The Department will analyze an officer’s use
of deadly force by evaluating the totality of the circumstances of
each case consistent with California Penal Code Section 835(a) as
well as the factors articulated in Graham v. Connor.

Rendering Aid. After any
use of force, officers shall promptly provide basic and emergency
medical assistance to all members of the community, including
victims, witnesses, subjects, suspects, persons in custody,
subjects of a use of force and fellow officers:

• To the extent of the officer’s training and experience in
first aid/CPR/AED; and
• To the level of equipment available to an officer at the time
assistance is needed.

Warning Shots. It is the
policy of this Department that warning shots shall only be used in
exceptional circumstances where it might reasonably be expected to
avoid the need to use deadly force. Generally, warning shots shall
be directed in a manner that minimizes the risk of injury to
innocent persons, ricochet dangers and property damage.

Shooting at or From Moving Vehicles. It is the policy of this
Department that firearms shall not be discharged at a moving
vehicle unless a person in the vehicle is immediately threatening
the officer or another person with deadly force by means other than
the vehicle. The moving vehicle itself shall not presumptively
constitute a threat that justifies an officer’s use of deadly
force. An officer threatened by an oncoming vehicle shall move out
of its path instead of discharging a firearm at it or any of its
occupants. Firearms shall not be discharged from a moving vehicle,
except in exigent circumstances and consistent with this policy
regarding the use of Deadly Force.

Note: It is understood that
the policy regarding discharging a firearm at or from a moving
vehicle may not cover every situation that may arise. In all
situations, officers are expected to act with intelligence and
exercise sound judgment, attending to the spirit of this policy.
Any deviations from the provisions of this policy shall be examined
rigorously on a case by case basis. The involved officer must be
able to clearly articulate the reasons for the use of deadly force.
Factors that may be considered include whether the officer’s life
or the lives of others were in immediate peril and there was no
reasonable or apparent means of escape.

Requirement to Report Potential Excessive
Force.
An officer who is present and observes another
officer using force that the present and observing officer believes
to be beyond that which is necessary, as determined by an
objectively reasonable officer under the circumstances based upon
the totality of information actually known to the officer, shall
report such force to a superior officer.

Requirement to Intercede When Excessive
Force is Observed.
An officer shall intercede when present
and observing another officer using force that is clearly beyond
that which is necessary, as determined by an objectively
reasonable officer under the circumstances, taking into account
the possibility that other officers may have additional
information regarding the threat posed by a subject.

DEFINITIONS.

Deadly Force. Deadly
force is defined as any use of force that creates a substantial
risk of causing death or serious bodily injury, including but not
limited to, the discharge of a firearm.

Feasible. Feasible means
reasonably capable of being done or carried out under the
circumstances to successfully achieve the arrest or lawful
objective without increasing risk to the officer or another
person.

Imminent. Pursuant to
California Penal Code Section 835a(e)(2), “[A] threat of death or
serious bodily injury is “imminent” when, based on the totality of
the circumstances, a reasonable officer in the same situation would
believe that a person has the present ability, opportunity, and
apparent intent to immediately cause death or serious bodily injury
to the peace officer or another person. An imminent harm is not
merely a fear of future harm, no matter how great the fear and no
matter how great the likelihood of the harm, but is one that, from
appearances, must be instantly confronted and addressed.”

Necessary. In addition to California
Penal Code 835(a), the Department shall evaluate whether deadly
force was necessary by looking at: a) the totality of the
circumstances from the perspective of a reasonable Los Angeles
Police Officer with similar training and experience; b) the factors
used to evaluate whether force is objectively reasonable; c) an
evaluation of whether the officer exhausted the available and
feasible alternatives to deadly force; and d) whether a warning was
feasible and/or given.

Objectively Reasonable. The
legal standard used to determine the lawfulness of a use of force
is based on the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
See Graham v. Connor, 490
U.S. 386 (1989). Graham
states, in part, “The reasonableness of a particular use of force
must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the
scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight. The calculus
of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police
officers are often forced to make split-second judgments  in
circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving 
about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular
situation. The test of reasonableness is not capable of precise
definition or mechanical application.”
The force must be reasonable under the circumstances known to or
reasonably believed by the officer at the time the force was used.
Therefore, the Department examines all uses of force from an
objective standard rather than a subjective standard.

Serious Bodily Injury.
Pursuant to California Penal Code Section 243(f)(4) Serious Bodily
Injury includes but is not limited to:

• Loss of consciousness;
• Concussion;
• Bone Fracture;
• Protracted loss or impairment of function of any bodily member or
organ;
• A wound requiring extensive suturing; and,
• Serious disfigurement.

Totality of the
Circumstances.
All facts known to or reasonably perceived by
the officer at the time, including the conduct of the officer and
the subject leading up to the use of force.

Warning Shots. The
intentional discharge of a firearm off target not intended to hit a
person, to warn others that deadly force is imminent.

AMENDMENT: This Order
amends section 1/556.10 of the Department Manual.

AUDIT RESPONSIBILITY: The
Commanding Officer, Audit Division, shall review this directive and
determine whether an audit or inspection shall be conducted in
accordance with Department Manual Section 0/080.30.

MICHEL R. MOORE
Chief of Police

DISTRIBUTION “D”

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