Lethal Force Policies Should be Revised by LAPD: FIOB

March 21, 2011 at

The fact that Los Angeles Police Commission has decided to exonerate Officer Frank Hernandez of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), after having caused the death of Manuel Jaminez Chux, an indigenous Guatemalan, has set a bad example because it leaves members of the migrant community in a vulnerable position in dealing with law enforcement.

First of all, the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB) has opposed the exoneration of officer Hernandez based on the claim that he shot Jaminez Chux in self-defense on September 5, 2010. We are sure that tactics other than lethal force could have been used.

We are aware that officers encounter difficult situations that give them minutes or seconds to act. However, we believe that the LAPD should change its lethal force policies to avoid unnecessary deaths in the future.

As we have expressed at the meeting with the Chief of Police, Charlie Beck after this unfortunate incident, a lot of community members have the disadvantage of not understanding either English or Spanish because they speak indigenous languages. We believe that this fact should be taken into account by officers when confronted by these type of individuals.

The findings have been made public after six months of investigation by the LA Police Commission. We believe that this investigation is controversial given the fact that witnesses attest that the victim was not brandishing a knife at the time of the shooting. Therefore, we support CHIRLA’s call for the Justice Department to carry out an independent Civil Rights investigation.

We are concerned that decisions like the one been taken by the Police Commission increase the distrust and fear among the people of our communities, who could become less likely to come forward or be willing to cooperate with officers to report a crime.
We appreciate the work done by LAPD officers to protect the community’s safety. However, we demand reforms to the LAPD in order for our community members not to die at the hands of uniformed officers with the excuse that their security was threatened.
Sincerely,
Gaspar Rivera- Salgado, Binational Coordinator
Odilia Romero, Binational Womens Coordinator
Bertha Rodriguez, Binational Media Coordinator
(213) 251 84 81

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