Key Examples of Police Brutality in LA


In Los Angeles, California, police officers have continued to harm civilians at increasing rates in the last three months, in spite of this summer with unprecedented amounts of activism and pressure from lawmakers. A bicyclist, Dijon, was fleeing after officers tried to stop him for an alleged vehicle code violation. He was fatally shot. He is one of more than 10 fatal police shootings in the LA region since the George Floyd protests. On the 18th of June, an LASD Compton deputy killed Andres Guardado, an 18-year-old security guard who was fleeing and shot five times in the back. 


One victim, Michael Thomas, was fatally shot by LA deputies on the 11th of June inside his home in Lancaster, north of the city. LASD alleged that the officers were responding to a suspected domestic violence call and that Thomas, who was unarmed, reached for the officer’s gun. But Thomas’ girlfriend said the two were only having an argument, and that he was trying to stop the officers from unlawfully entering his home, citing the fourth amendment. His girlfriend couldn’t even hold his hand or comfort her father as he lay dying. The names of the officers or an incident report were difficult to procure, even when asked by one of Michael Thomas’s daughters, who was just trying to understand what happened in the final moments. 


These incidents are mind-boggling. Despite the sense of injustice, one may perceive from hearing about these events, it is still difficult to be able to file a claim and win compensation for these acts. Victims of police brutality may find it hard to procure evidence in order to win a lawsuit over law enforcement officers and their criminal defense lawyers, possibly because of the qualified immunity that protects individuals such as police officers.


Attempts at reform


Activists state that minor cuts to the budget are not enough and that paying for increased training is also not enough. They note that the harm will stop only when officers lose the many protections that give them license to fatally shoot others with impunity. Furthermore, they note that officers are trained to think someone is trying to take their lives, so they are trained for self-defensive shooting. Rising awareness concerning police brutality has led the Los Angeles city to cut down on police funding by $150 million and to aid poorer areas. However, plans like this only work when there is a well-organized plan in place. The L.A. plan has come under fire for spending a large portion of the $150 million on issues like cleaning up graffiti, polishing streets and alleyways, which many believe are not truly investing in communities. It is evident that reform and change will only happen with continued pressure from individuals.