Deadly Force: News and Publications

Collaborative Reform Initiative: An Assessment of the San Francisco Police Department

U.S. Department of Justice
Community Oriented Policing Services

On Wednesday, October 12th 2016, the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services released a new report detailing "numerous indicators of implicit and institutionalized bias against minority groups" among other issues pertaining to the conduct of the San Francisco Police Department. The review, which is not a court-enforceable agreement, was requested by the Mayor and a former SFPD Chief and makes 272 recommendations.

According to the Director's introduction to the report, the Department of Justice found "concerning deficiencies in every operational area assessed: use of force; bias; community policing practices; accountability measures; and recruitment, hiring, and promotion practices. We also found serious deficiencies concerning the San Francisco Police Department’s (SFPD) data systems regarding the ability to collect, maintain, and analyze data."

$100K Settlement and Changes in Protocol Following OR Police Shooting

In October 2012, the Salem, Oregon police department responded to a welfare check call for Chase Hammer, 27, who was reported to be suicidal and armed. When police encountered Hammer, he was approaching his home, holding a revolver upside-down and by the butt. The officers did not give Hammer any time to comply with their commands, and within moments of giving them, an officer shot and killed him.

$2M Settlement for Georgia Teenager Shot in Back of Head by Police Officer

In August 2016, Fulton County, Georgia agreed to pay $2 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of DeAnthony Cunningham, who was 16 years old in 2011 when a police officer shot him in the back of the head while he was on his knees with his hands in the air.

Cpl. Benjamin W. Griggs, the officer who shot Cunningham, is still a police officer in Fulton County. Cunningham, meanwhile, has undergone 18 surgeries, relearned to walk and to speak, and amassed over $1 million in medical bills.

$4.6M Settlement for Unarmed Man Shot by Inglewood, CA Police During Traffic Stop

In October 2012, Juan Jose Palma was shot directly in the head by Inglewood police officer Landon Poirier. Poirer later attempted to justify the shooting to investigators by saying that Palma looked as if he was reaching for a weapon and had repeatedly ignored commands to show his hands during an encounter that reported lasted less than 15 seconds.

NYPD Officer Found Guilty of Manslaughter in Shooting of Akai Gurley

On Friday, February 12, a jury in Brooklyn returned a guilty verdict of manslaughter and official misconduct for New York Police Department officer Peter Liang, who shot Akai Gurley dead in a dark stairwell of Brooklyn's Pink Houses on November 20, 2014. Gurley, 28, was unarmed and innocent of any wrongdoing; Liang testified the shooting was accidental. However, following the shooting, Liang placed a call to his sergeant's cellphone, rather than using his radio to communicate on record as is pursuant to department policy.

KPCC Los Angeles Releases Analysis of 375 Shootings of Civilians by Police in L.A. County 2010-14

On November 10, 2015, Los Angeles radio station KPCC launched its "Officer Involved" series, analyzing investigatory summaries obtained from the Los Angeles district attorney detailing 375 shootings of civilians by the county's 45 law enforcement agencies from 2010-14 and collating that data with other public records.

City and County of San Francisco, California, et al., Petitioners, v. Teresa Sheehan

NPAP Amicus Brief in Support of Respondent Teresa Sheehan. Police are trained in safe tactics for handling the mentally ill.  The Fourth Amendment requires police to adjust their tactics when dealing with emotionally disturbed or mentally ill persons.

For an analysis of the case see Prof. Michael Avery's article  Do the Americans With Disablities and Civil Rights Acts Apply to Police Operations?  at Truthout: Copyright Reprinted with permission.

Federal Jury Returns $6.5 Million Verdict for Family Members of a Man Killed By Long Beach Police

After 10 days of evidence, a Santa Ana Federal Court jury returned a verdict against two Long Beach police officers who shot and killed Douglas Zerby on December 12, 2010.  While waiting for a friend, Mr. Zerby had been holding a garden hose nozzle, which Defendants claimed to have mistook for a weapon.