In at least eight shootings in the last two years, groups of Los Angeles officers simultaneously fired handguns and weapons meant to avoid killing, such as projectile launchers or Tasers, found a Los Angeles Times review of nearly 50 police shootings since the start of 2020 along with hours of associated police video. The police actions the “less lethal” options little or no time to work and resulted in five deaths. The shootings often came in sudden bursts after longer standoffs, when officers had readied themselves with alternative weapons but failed to prioritize their use before resorting to deadlier force.
Some suspects were shot at a distance, including one man with a sword who was simultaneously shot in the street with a projectile and a rifle round from 77 feet away. Others were hit at close range, including a man who was simultaneously shot and Tasered next to his mother in a narrow hallway. In all eight shootings identified by the newspaper, the suspect was armed with a knife, blade or blunt object, never a firearm, making them part of a broader increase in police shootings of people without guns. The trend has raised alarms within the police department. Top commanders have promised to revisit training to better teach officers to slow down and let Tasers and projectiles take effect if possible before firing live rounds. The trend has infuriated the families of those shot and police reform advocates, who say the incidents show not only a critical breakdown in police training, but also a lack of concern among officers for the people — many of them mentally ill — they end up shooting.