March 12 (UPI) — The Los Angeles Police Department mishandled the protests that erupted last summer following the police-involved killing of George Floyd, an in dependent report commissioned by the city’s council said.
The 101-page report published Thursday and transmitted to the Board of Police Commissioners said the department was not prepared for the protests and exhibited deficiencies in numerous areas from training and planning to conducting mass arrests and its use of less lethal tools.
“The lack of adequate planning and preparation caused the department to be reactive, rather than proactive, and inhibited the department’s ability to have better control over the violence being committed by small groups of individuals whose objectives were to create chaos and confrontation with the police,” it said.
The critical report documented confusion and disorder caused by high-ranking officers enacting conflicting tactical plans, a lack of expertise in public order policing among the force due to a lack of training, an inability to isolate and arrest criminal elements and a use of less lethal munitions that saw those not engaging in illegal activity at the protests being struck by projectiles and injured.
Protests erupted and persisted for weeks in Los Angeles after Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed by a White Minneapolis police officer on Memorial Day, resulting in more than 4,000 arrests in the city between May 29 and June 2.
The report said the LAPD conducted the arrests throughout the protests “without a clearly articulated plan for detentions, transportation and processing” that led to those arrested to be detained at the scene or on buses or relocated to remote locations for hours without water or use bathroom facilities.
These problems, however, have occurred before, it said.
“It is unfortunate that the same issues have arisen again and agains with the department being unable or unwilling to rectify the problem,” the report said.
The department was also unable to isolate and arrest those who were creating violence and looting “due in part to the use of antiquated tactics and lack of training on public order policing,” it said.
The report added that the department’s leadership also failed to ensure the wellness of their officers with many working long hours without relief causing them to be sleep deprived.
Some officers also did not have the proper protective gear to shield them during the protests, resulting in 106 being injured, according to the report.
“The department must do everything it can to provide for officer safety and at the same time protect the safety of those who are peacefully protesting,” it said.
In total, the report proposed 22 recommendations for the city, the Board of Police Commissioners and the police department to consider.
The LAPD said in a statement that it will comment after it has completed a careful review of the report.
The police department and the National Police Foundation are both separately conducting their own investigations into the LAPD’s handling of the protests.
“Independent of the three reports, the department recognized areas of improvement from the events that occurred over the summer,” the LAPD said, stating it has already implemented several changes.
The department added that chief of police Michael Moore “has taken responsibility for the department’s response” and that they have identified lessons learned from the unrest.
“As a result, additional training was provided to the rank and file, as well as the command staff and leadership of the department,” it said. “The opportunity to learn from our mistakes, to grow and become better servants to our community is welcomed and we look forward to leaning into the challenges before us.”
The report follows the city of Chicago watchdog last month stating its police department was also “under-prepared and ill-equipped” to handle the protests in its city.