Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto: News, Research, Opinion
Friday, November 9, 2012
Police vs. public scrutiny
Withholding information from the public about the use of force by
officers only serves to undermine confidence in police, especially in
Kennedy Garcia, 23, was one of a group of suspected graffiti vandals in
the process of being arrested and handcuffed by police on Oct. 12 when
he reportedly took off running. The police called for backup, and two
officers in the South L.A. neighborhood spotted him
trying to crawl under an SUV. They dragged him out by the ankles and,
although he was reportedly lying on his stomach with his hands cuffed
behind his back, saw something metallic that they mistook for a gun.
Both opened fire, and Kennedy was critically wounded after being shot in
the back. He was not armed.
This is now public information, no thanks to the Los Angeles Police Department.
At the time, the LAPD put out a news release making the incident sound
like a routine officer-involved shooting — no mention was made of the
handcuffs, nor that Kennedy was lying prone. After The Times questioned police brass,
they acknowledged the additional details and said they were withheld to
avoid tainting witness testimony. That's plausible, but we can think of
a few other reasons they might have wanted to keep the affair out of
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