L.A. City Council Approves Expanded Civilian Role in How LAPD Officers are Disciplined for Misconduct

A graduation exercise for new officers at the Los Angeles Police Academy is seen in this photo from 2018. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A graduation exercise for new officers at the Los Angeles Police Academy is seen in this photo from 2018. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles City Council approved a measure Tuesday that gives civilians a greater role in how police officers are disciplined for serious misconduct.

Officers facing discipline will soon have the option of having their cases heard by an all-civilian panel, one of the most significant expansions of civilian oversight in decades. Voters approved such a plan in 2017 with the passage of Charter Amendment C.

The three-person Board of Rights panels currently include two officers and a civilian member, added in 1992 in the wake of reform demands after the beating of Rodney King and the riots that followed. Back then, many officers opposed the idea of civilians judging whether they should be suspended or terminated. Police watchdogs assumed civilians would hold cops more accountable.

But the prospect of all-civilian panels has been controversial from the outset and has reshaped the political dynamic. It was backed by the powerful Los Angeles Police Protective League, which contends that officer-led panels—composed of top cops seeking to climb the ranks— are less likely to buck a chief’s recommendation of severe punishment.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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