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U.S. v. City of Los Angeles - Consent Decree -- Introduction

I. INTRODUCTION

A. General Provisions

1. The United States and the City of Los Angeles, a chartered municipal corporation in the State of California, share a mutual interest in promoting effective and respectful policing. They join together in entering this settlement in order to promote police integrity and prevent conduct that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

2. In its Complaint, plaintiff United States alleges that the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, and the Los Angeles Police Department (collectively, "the City defendants") are violating 42 U.S.C.  14141 by engaging in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or otherwise unlawful conduct that has been made possible by the failure of the City defendants to adopt and implement proper management practices and procedures. In making these allegations, the United States recognizes that the majority of Los Angeles police officers perform their difficult jobs in a lawful manner.

3. The City defendants deny the allegations in the Complaint. Nothing in this Agreement, the United States' complaint, or the negotiation process shall be construed as an admission or evidence of liability under any federal, state or local law, including 42 U.S.C. 1983, or 18 U.S.C. 1961 et. seq.

4. This Court has jurisdiction of this action under 28 U.S.C. 1331 and 1345. The United States is authorized to initiate this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 14141. Venue is proper in the Central District of California pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1391.

5. This Agreement resolves all claims in the United States' Complaint filed in this case. This Agreement also constitutes a full and complete settlement of any and all claims the United States may have against the City defendants, and their officers, employees or agents, regarding any alleged pattern or practice of conduct by Los Angeles police officers in carrying out their law enforcement responsibilities, including racial discrimination, in violation of 42 U.S.C. 14141, 2000d, 3789d(c) or any other law under which such an action could have been brought by the United States that: (i) have occurred up to and including the date the Complaint is filed, or (ii) could have been raised as of the date the Complaint is filed. This paragraph does not apply to any potential employment discrimination claims against the City of Los Angeles.

6. The parties enter into this Agreement to provide for the expeditious implementation of remedial measures, to promote the use of the best available practices and procedures for police management, and to resolve the United States' claims without resort to adversarial litigation.

7. Nothing in this Agreement is intended to alter the lawful authority of LAPD police officers to use reasonable and necessary force, effect arrests and file charges, conduct searches or make seizures, or otherwise fulfill their law enforcement obligations to the people of the City of Los Angeles in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Constitutions and laws of the United States and the State of California.

8. Nothing in this Agreement is intended to: (a) alter the existing collective bargaining agreements between the City (as defined in paragraph 15) and LAPD employee bargaining units; or (b) impair the collective bargaining rights of employees in those units under state and local law. The parties acknowledge that as a matter of state and local law the implementation by the City of certain provisions of this Agreement may require compliance with the meet and confer process or consulting process. The City shall comply with any such legal requirements and shall do so with a goal of concluding any such processes in a manner that will permit the City's timely implementation of this Agreement. The City shall give appropriate notice of this Agreement to affected employee bargaining units to allow such processes to begin as to this Agreement as filed with the Court. The City has received one demand to meet and confer in regard to the proposed Agreement and will use its best efforts to have expedited that process and any others that may be demanded. The City agrees to consult with the DOJ in regard to the positions it takes in any meeting and conferring or consulting processes connected with this Agreement.

9. This Agreement shall constitute the entire integrated agreement of the parties. No prior drafts or prior or contemporaneous communications, oral or written, shall be relevant or admissible for purposes of determining the meaning of any provisions herein in any litigation or any other proceeding.

10. This Agreement is binding upon the parties hereto, by and through their officials, agents, employees, and successors. This Agreement is enforceable only by the parties. No person or entity is intended to be a third party beneficiary of the provisions of this Agreement for purposes of any civil, criminal, or administrative action, and accordingly, no person or entity may assert any claim or right as a beneficiary or protected class under this Agreement. This Agreement is not intended to impair or expand the right of any person or organization to seek relief against the City defendants for their conduct or the conduct of LAPD officers; accordingly, it does not alter legal standards governing any such claims, including those under California Business and Professional Code Section 17200, et. seq. This Agreement does not authorize, nor shall it be construed to authorize, access to any City or Department documents, except as expressly provided by this Agreement, by persons or entities other than the DOJ, the City defendants and the Monitor.

11. The City is responsible for providing necessary support to the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, the Inspector General, the LAPD and the Chief of Police to enable each of them to fulfill their obligations under this Agreement.

12. The City, by and through its officials, agents, employees, and successors, is enjoined from engaging in a pattern or practice of conduct by law enforcement officers of the LAPD that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. This paragraph does not apply to the City of Los Angeles' employment policies, practices, or procedures.

B. Definitions

13. The term "Categorical Uses of Force" means (i) all incidents involving the use of deadly force by an LAPD officer ("OIS"); (ii) all uses of an upper body control hold by an LAPD officer and can include the use of a modified carotid, full carotid or locked carotid; (iii) all uses of force by an LAPD officer resulting in an injury requiring hospitalization, commonly referred to as a law enforcement related injury or LERI incident; (iv) all head strikes with an impact weapon; (v) all other uses of force by an LAPD officer resulting in a death, commonly known as a law enforcement activity related death or LEARD incident; and (vi) all deaths while the arrestee or detainee is in the custodial care of the LAPD, commonly referred to as an in-custody death or ICD. In addition, under current LAPD policy, a canine bite is not a use of force. However, for purposes of this Agreement only, a Categorical Use of Force shall include all incidents where a member of the public is bitten by a canine assigned to the LAPD and where hospitalization is required.

14. The term "Charter" means the Los Angeles City Charter, as may be amended from time to time.

15. The term "City" means the City of Los Angeles acting through the Mayor of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles City Council.

16. The term "complaint" means any complaint by a member of the public regarding Department services, policy or procedure, claims for damages (which allege employee misconduct) or employee misconduct; and any allegation of possible misconduct made by an LAPD employee. All complaints shall be recorded on Complaint Form 1.28. A complaint may be initiated by any of the methods set forth in paragraph 74. For purposes of this Agreement, the term "complaint" does not include any allegation of employment discrimination.

17. The term "Complaint Form 1.28 investigations" means all administrative investigations of complaints by the LAPD.

18. The term "complainant" means any person who files a complaint against an officer or the LAPD.

19. The term "Department" means the Los Angeles Police Department, a constituent department of the City of Los Angeles, as defined in the Charter, and includes the LAPD, the Inspector General, and the Police Commission.

20. The terms "document" and "record" include all "writings and recordings" as defined by Federal Rules of Evidence Rule 1001(1).

21. The term "DOJ" means the United States Department of Justice and its agents and employees. In this action, the DOJ represents the United States of America.

22. The term "effective date" means the day this Agreement is entered by the Court.

23. The term "including" means "including, but not limited to."

24. The term "Independent Monitor" or "Monitor" as used in this document except for paragraph 158, means the Monitor established by Section XI of this Agreement, and all persons or entities associated by the Monitor to assist in performing the monitoring tasks.

25. The term "Inspector General" means the Office of the Inspector General, as established in the Charter.

26. The term "LAPD" means the Chief of Police of the Department and all employees under his or her command.

27. The term "LAPD employee" means any employee under the command of the Chief of Police, including civilian employees.

28. The term "LAPD unit" means any officially designated organization of officers within the LAPD, including Bureaus, Areas, Divisions, Groups, Sections, and specialized units.

29. The term "manager" means an LAPD supervisor at the rank of captain or above.

30. The term "motor vehicle stop" means any instance where an LAPD officer directs a civilian operating a motor vehicle of any type to stop and the driver is detained for any length of time. Such term does not include: checkpoint stops; roadblock stops; commercial vehicle inspection stops; safe driving award stops; child safety seat giveaway stops; stops related to the execution of arrest warrants where the person being stopped is reasonably believed to be the person named on the warrant; stops directly related to the execution of search warrants; or stops as part of targeted task force prostitution and drug enforcement stings which sole purpose is to identify and arrest persons who engage in or attempt to engage in the targeted unlawful conduct.

31. The term "non-disciplinary action" refers to action other than discipline taken by an LAPD supervisor to enable or encourage an officer to modify his or her performance. It may include: oral or written counseling; training; increased field supervision for a specified time period; mandatory professional assistance; referral to Behavioral Science Services ("BSS") or to the Employee Assistance Program; a change of an officer's partner; or a reassignment or transfer.

32. The term "pedestrian stop" means any instance where an LAPD officer performs a stop (i.e., a temporary restraint where a person is not free to leave) of a person who is not in a motor vehicle. Such term does not include: (i) field interviews of witnesses to or victims of crime; (ii) stops in direct response to the time, place, and circumstances of a call for service for homicide, rape, robbery, assault, domestic violence, shots fired, suspect with a gun or knife, kidnaping, bomb threat, child in danger of physical harm caused by another person, officer needs help or assistance, or battery; (iii) stops related to the execution of arrest warrants where the person being stopped is reasonably believed to be the person named on the warrant; (iv) stops directly related to the execution of search warrants; (v) stops as part of targeted task force prostitution and drug enforcement stings which sole purpose is to identify and arrest persons who engage in or attempt to engage in the targeted unlawful conduct; (vi) stops related to the declaration of an unlawful assembly by an LAPD supervisor at the scene, and incidental stops related to crowd control; (vii) consensual stops except when such stops are followed by a pat-down/frisk, search or seizure (other than searches or seizures incident to an arrest), preparation of a field interview card, citation or arrest.

33. The terms "Police Commission" or "Commission" mean the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, as established in the Charter.

34. The term "police officer" or "officer" means any law enforcement officer employed by the LAPD, including supervisors and managers.

35. The term "specified audit" means those audits required under paragraphs 128, 129, 131, 132, 136, 137, and 138 of this Agreement.

36. The term "sting audits" means those audits described in paragraph 97.

37. The term "supervisor" means a police officer with oversight responsibility for other officers and includes managers.

38. The term "use of force" means a reportable use of force incident as defined in Section 4/245.05 of the LAPD manual as of October 1, 2000.

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General Information Special Litigation Section
 
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