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Five LAPD Killings in Nine Days

The killing of Valentina Orellana-Peralta, a 14-year-old who died in her mother’s arms after police shot her in a department store dressing room, has prompted outrage and renewed scrutiny of the Los Angeles police department. Her death was one of five killings by LAPD officers in nine days this month, the Guardian reports. In 2021, LAPD shot 38 people, killing 18 of them. In 2020, the department shot 27 people, killing seven of them. Those figures were similar to 2019, when LAPD officers shot 26 people, killing twelve. While it’s unclear what’s driving the increase, activists argue that LAPD officers have been emboldened to use lethal force in unwarranted ways after seeing their colleagues face few repercussions, if any. During the past week and a half, LAPD shot six people, including Orellana-Peralta. Five of the people shot by LAPD around the Christmas holiday have died, and none was armed. “The tactic is shooting first and asking questions later,” said Jose Barrera, California director for the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Officials have touted a range of LAPD reforms during the pandemic, including initiatives sending mental health professionals to respond to many calls, expanded de-escalation training and community programs meant to build relationships and restore trust. The steady stream of scandals, activists said, illustrated how the department fails to prioritize public safety and how reforms have not prevented harmful practices. LAPD and its supporters have been pushing for more resources, citing concerns about rising crime, including high-profile robbery cases and retail thefts. The data, however, paint a more complicated picture; homicides have increased, reflecting national trends during the pandemic, but property crime is generally down.


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