LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore wants to concentrate the power to fire officers in his own hands, saying the board that reviews his disciplinary decisions is overly lenient, it was reported today.
Bypassing the Board of Rights would require changing the city charter and would essentially undo a major reworking of police discipline that was approved by L.A. voters three years ago, the Los Angeles Times reported.
At a meeting Thursday with The Times editorial board that focused on police reforms in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing, Moore said the current system “always seems to default in favor of the officer,'' according to the newspaper.
When Moore recommends that an officer be fired, whether for a fatal shooting or for driving drunk off-duty or some other misconduct, the case goes to a three-member Board of Rights. The police chief can downgrade the discipline recommended by the board but cannot increase it.
Moore pointed to other police agencies where the chief can quickly fire an officer and the decision is final unless overturned by a city manager or a court.
“I recently referred an officer who was out of policy in a shooting to a Board of Rights, and that officer is found not guilty,'' he said. “And that, you know, pre-empts me, and that was the only means in which I can remove that officer. And so that is, in my view, terrible.''
Craig Lally, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents rank-and-file LAPD officers, told The Times that the Board of Rights system is working well and that checks on the chief's power are needed.
Lally said that despite the Board of Rights, Moore has still been able to fire a number of officers, and Moore told the Times editorial board that he fired 18 officers last year.
Prior to the passage of Charter Amendment C in May 2017, Board of Rights panels were made up of one civilian and two members of the LAPD command staff.
The amendment, which was supported by Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council, gave officers the option of an all-civilian panel. The officers' union spent at least $839,000 to campaign for its passage. The Times reported that, perhaps counterintuitively, civilians are generally considered more sympathetic to police officers than their commanders.
Moore said he has been speaking with Garcetti about his proposal and how to bring it about, The Times reported.
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