Under heavy lobbying from the union that represents rank and file LAPD officers, the Los Angeles City Council Wednesday took the first step toward creating civilian panels that would review discipline involving cops accused of misconduct.
The change could tip the balance in favor of officers — studies show civilians are actually more lenient with cops involved in wrongdoing than command officers.
The council voted unanimously to ask the city attorney to draft several possible measures to place before voters in May. One would allow officers facing termination by Chief Charlie Beck to request their case be heard before an all-civilian panel that could overturn Beck’s decision.
Right now, discipline recommendations are made by an LAPD “Board of Rights” panel that includes two members of Beck’s command staff and one civilian. They can find an officer guilty or not guilty of everything from wrongfully shooting someone to lying on a police report. After the panels recommend discipline, the chief can accept or reduce it.