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We debate Measure C: Should all-civilian boards review police disciplinary matters?

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 20:  Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck (L) and retiring Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca march in the 29th annual Kingdom Day Parade on January 20, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The Kingdom Day Parade honors the memory of African-American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and coincides with Martin Luther King Day.  (Photo by David McNew/Getty Image
David McNew/Getty Images
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck (L) and retiring Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca march in the 29th annual Kingdom Day Parade on January 20, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council approved the language for Charter Amendment C, a controversial measure that will appear on the May 16 ballot for LA City voters and will alter how police officers who’ve engaged in misconduct are disciplined.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council approved the language for Charter Amendment C, a controversial measure that will appear on the May 16 ballot for LA City voters and will alter how police officers who’ve engaged in misconduct are disciplined.

Currently, an officer to be fired by Chief Beck is reviewed by an LAPD Board of Rights panel, which is made of three members: two command-level officers and one civilian. They either approve the firing or ease the penalty. Measure C, introduced by City Council President Herb Wesson, would allow the officer being disciplined to have their case reviewed by an all-civilian panel instead.

Los Angeles Police Protective League officials have backed the measure, saying it will encourage civilian participation in police departments and create panels impartial to department influence or favoritism.

But the measure has drawn criticism from groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Community Coalition and the Los Angeles branch of Black Lives Matter. Among their concerns is that the current qualifications required to be chosen for the panel are too restrictive and that analysis has shown that civilian board members are more lenient than sworn officers.

Will Measure C keep officers accountable for misconduct, or will it actually lead to leniency?   

Guests:

Craig Lally, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League; the league is publicly supporting Measure C

John “Jay” Handal, hearing examiner since 2007 for the Los Angeles Police Department Commision;  treasurer of the West Los Angeles Neighborhood Council; co-chair of the Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates

Peter Bibring, senior staff attorney and director of police practices for the ACLU of Southern California

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