This is the pattern. Disabled people – especially but not exclusively black men, especially but not exclusively people in mental health crisis – get killed by cops. No one is held responsible.
While Beck and police union leaders called the shooting justified, it and the national uproar over policing prompted a series of changes at the department. In a rare move, the department required all nearly 10,000 cops to go through a ten-hour training that focused on four areas:
- Building public trust by partnering with the community and recognizing your own implicit racial biases on the streets.
- Use of force and de-escalation techniques, including taking cover and creating distance from suspects to buy time to talk to them and call for back-up.
- How best to identify and approach mentally ill people.
- Basic laws of arrest, including reasonable suspicion and probable cause.
De-escalation was always taught, but its emphasized more now, said Dr. Luann Pannell, a psychologist who is director of training and education at the LAPD’s academy. “De-escalation can come in many forms – its not always just slowing things down. Sometimes, its best to move in on a person quickly to end a situation before it escalates.”
That’s all fine. Maybe even useful. But Ezell Ford is still dead and the officers are suing the LAPD for even the hint that they might have been culpable.
If I seem angry, it’s because Quintonio Legrier and Bettie Jones are still dead and the officer who killed them won’t be charged.
Meanwhile, Ezell Ford is still dead.