ACLU Calls For 'Broad' Investigation Of LAPD Shooting Of Unarmed Autistic Man

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California urged the Los Angeles Police Department Tuesday to take a "broader look" at its use-of-force policy in the wake of a fatal Koreatown confrontation between gang cops and a 27-year-old autistic man.

Two officers shot Steven Eugene Washington early Saturday on Vermont Avenue near James M. Wood Boulevard after the man failed to comply with their orders and allegedly advanced toward them with his hand in his waistband, police said.

The shooting is under investigation, but ACLU Executive Director Ramona Ripston wants a good, hard look at the incident, especially because a recently concluded, post-Rampart scandal consent decree between the U.S. Department of Justice and the LAPD specifically addressed the issue of dealing with suspects who have mental issues.

"We fully expect the department to conduct a full and thorough investigation into this tragic incident," Ripston states. "But we urge the LAPD to go beyond a one-time investigation examining the conduct of the officers, and take a broader look at changes in department policy and training that could help prevent such a tragedy from recurring."

The man's family has hired legal representation, which is often a sign that a lawsuit is in the works.

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