This week's foot-in-the-mouth award goes to Eastside state Sen. Gloria Romero, whose often-brave stances we often agree with, but whose recent comments about a Los Angeles Police Department shooting she might want to reconsider.
She suggested in an interview aired on KFI AM 640 over the weekend that the LAPD has a 'shoot-to-kill' mentality when it comes to confronting armed suspects. Romero was referring to the early September clash between police and a drunk Guatemalan man who was threatening people, including cops, with a knife.
Manuel Jamines was fatally shot, and the Westlake neighborhood where the confrontation happened erupted in three nights of unrest. Romero suggested that maybe the officers could have somehow tamed the suspect without gunfire.
“There are ways in which we can disarm suspects … that are not lethal …,” she told the station. ” … What we are saying it's the shooting policy, stupid.”
If, in fact, if Officer Frank Hernandez opened fire because he feared for the lives of bystanders, officers and himself, the shooting would probably be deemed “in-policy” by investigators. Already Los Angeles police Chief and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa say it was a good shooting.
Romero seems to be siding with neighborhood activists who suggest that a drunk-man-with-a-knife call should be more of a wrestling match for police. Cops are saying you don't bring a stun-gun to a knife fight.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents L.A. cops, is furious with Romero. In a statement issued Monday, LAPPL president Paul M. Weber says:
The LAPD does not have a 'shoot to kill' policy. Has Ms. Romero forgotten that this is one of the most closely scrutinized police departments in the country? LAPD's guiding value when using force is reverence for human life. The LAPD's detailed use-of-force policy, which Ms. Romero is apparently unfamiliar with, allows officers to 'shoot to stop,' and states officers may fire their weapons in defense of their lives or the lives of others, until the deadly threat is neutralized.
The LAPD shooting policy is a model policy that was updated three years ago following an extensive best practices review with experts from around the United States, and reaffirmed in July of 2009.
… As we have said repeatedly in the past days … if you don't want to get shot by a police officer, don't try to stab one with a knife.