By Sharon Berstein
March 1, 2016
More than a third of people hit by Los Angeles police officers' gunfire last year had indications of mental illness, double the prior year, according to a report on the use of force released on Tuesday by the Los Angeles Police Department.
The report, which analyzed shootings involving police officers and other uses of force over a five-year period from 2011 to 2014, comes amid increasing concern in Los Angeles and across the United States about police tactics.
In 2015, 48 suspects were shot at by L.A. police, 21 of them fatally, the report said. All told from 2011 through the end of 2015, LAPD officers shot at 223 people, killing 97 of them.
Of 38 people actually struck by bullets, 14, or 37 percent showed signs of mental illness, the report said. By comparison, just 19 percent of those shot by police had indications of mental illness in 2014, the report said.
All told, five people with mental illness were struck by police gunfire in 2011, four in 2012, 10 in 2013 and five in 2014, accounting for an average of 18 percent annually from 2011-2014.
Of 38 people hit by police gunfire last year, 22 were Hispanic, the largest number. Eight were African-American, five white and two Asian/Pacific Islander.
That held true for most of the past five years, except for 2014, when the 26 people shot by police included 10 who were black and 10 who were Hispanic.
Hispanic officers were involved in the greatest number of shootings in 2015, accounting for 55 percent of the total of 62 officers who shot at suspects in the year. White officers accounted for 29 percent, or 18 officers and Asian/Pacific Islander and Black officers were involved in just six percent each of the incidents.
The report compared some of the statistics with officer involved shootings in other large police agencies, including Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, whose deputies shot at 197 suspects during the same period, killing 85 of them.