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Ballot Measure to Bring LAPD Oversight Urged

A Dec. 1 protest in South L.A. that ended at the spot where Ezell Ford was fatally shot by police last August.
A Dec. 1 protest in South L.A. that ended at the spot where Ezell Ford was fatally shot by police last August. | Photo: Courtesy D. Solomon/Intersections South LA

Members of a neighborhood council called on a South Los Angeles-area city councilman to back a ballot measure that would create an elected oversight panel for the Los Angeles Police Department, saying the appointed members of the Police Commission are unable to hold officers accountable for abuses of power.

The nine-member South Central Neighborhood Council passed a resolution Tuesday calling on Councilman Curren Price to spearhead a ballot measure to create an elected panel with authority to make decisions on police disciplinary matters.

Cliff Smith, a member of the council, said the police department has "conspired" to withhold autopsy results on Omar Abrega and Ezell Ford, two men killed this summer in shootings by police from the Newton Division, which is in the South Central Neighborhood Council's area.

Mayor Eric Garcetti recently ordered the autopsy on Ford to be released before the end of this year.

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Smith said the Police Commission can only make recommendations on disciplinary matters, including police shootings, so their role is no more than "window dressing."

"The police department is a public institution," Smith said. "It needs to be under the democratic control of the community, just as any other democratic institution, such as a school district."

Representatives from Price's office did not immediately respond to the neighborhood council's resolution.

Smith said the support of the councilman would simplify and speed up the process of putting the measure on the ballot, and would not require proponents to collect signatures.

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