Los Angeles Police officers have been involved in 31 shootings this year — more than each of the past two years — and nearly a third involved someone experiencing mental illness, according to police.
The data comes as the department experienced a rash of officer-involved shootings in the first two weeks of October. In total, the 31 shootings – in which 11 people have been killed — were up from 27 for all of last year in which seven people died. The four-year average for LAPD shootings as of this week was 27. The increase coincides with the overall uptick in violent crime, the department said. As of Oct. 16, the city reported 314 homicides compared to 274 for the same time frame last year.
From Oct. 2-13, the department had five officer-involved shootings. Police Chief Michel Moore has attributed the increase in shootings to two factors: Many have involved people perceived to be mentally ill and others involve people carrying edged weapons. In total, 10 LAPD shootings involved someone with a perceived mental illness, which equates to 32% of all police shootings this year.
That figure exceeds the 19% from last year and the 15% from 2019, the department said. Another 10 police shootings this year involved suspects armed with an edged weapon. Four of the five incidents that occurred earlier this month involved hostage situations “where officers were thrust into evolving incidents where a hostage was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury,” according to the LAPD.
Many people with mental illness are in and out of treatment and are often released without a proper support system, which has contributed to the high levels of violence, police officials said. While many police shootings have been justified, some have come with controversy [FOX News].