The LAPD & NYPD Are On High Alert, Fearing Violence And Permitting A Drop In Arrests
It's been an extremely tense few days for the Los Angeles Police Department. Over the weekend, two officers were allegedly shot at while patrolling South LA, an eerily familiar scene after two NYPD officers were fatally gunned down in their patrol car. Then on Monday, an autopsy report of a 25-year-old black man revealed that LAPD officers had shot the unarmed man three times, which the city is expecting will spark fresh protests. As a result, the LAPD went on high alert on Monday, a state of caution — and fear — currently shared by law enforcement across the country.
On Sunday, two officers responding a call on South Hoover Street in LA said they saw a muzzle flash, which is the visible fire blast from the muzzle of a firearm, and believed that they were being fired at. The situation was initially described as an "ambush" because, like in New York, the LAPD officers had no direct contact with the suspects prior to the shooting.
The case is still under investigation and it still remains unclear whether the cops were directly targeted or if the shooting stemmed from an unrelated gang incident nearby. However, after the horrific execution of NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, it's not unreasonable that the LAPD would initially assume anti-police violence.
But that's not the only incident that has put the LAPD on tactical alert.
In August, just two days after Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, another unarmed black man was fatally shot by law enforcement. According to the police officers involved, they tried to talk to 25-year-old Ezell Ford, but a struggle ensued and Ford was shot when he tried to grab for an officer's gun.
The shooting drew criticism from the community because Ford was mentally ill, and his family has filed a $75 million civil rights lawsuit against the city, claiming that the officers were aware of his condition. Thousands protested in response, with many comparing it to the Rodney King beating that took place in LA more than 20 years ago.
Another issue the community had with the case was the delayed autopsy report, which was not released until this Monday. The report confirmed that Ford had been shot by police, to his back, in his right side, and in his right arm. As a result, the police went on high alert again on Monday around 2:30 p.m.
Across the country, another major city's police force is experiencing the same sense of unease and alarm. The NYPD also went on high alert after Ramos and Liu were gunned down in broad daylight. Though that incident occurred more than a week ago, the NYPD is still exhibiting palpable caution, which has resulted in a 66 percent drop in arrests for low-level crimes. The city plans on holding an emergency meeting between NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and the heads of the five police unions on Tuesday to mitigate the high tensions between law enforcement and the city government.
Meanwhile, law enforcement nationwide will have to endure what may be an unprecedented sense of unease as the country's ongoing struggle for racial justice and fair policing continues to play out.
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