(AP) A report by the Los Angeles Police Department's watchdog disputes Police Chief Charlie Beck's assertion that officer-involved shootings have dramatically gone up because more officers have come under attack.
Last year, police fired their weapons in 63 incidents, marking a roughly 50 percent increase over such shootings in the previous four years. Beck said that the rise was linked to the 193 assaults on officers, which was a 22 percent increase in such incidents from 2010.
However, Alex Bustamante, the inspector general for the Police Commission, argues in a report that there's no such link.
The Los Angeles Times said the report challenges the way the LAPD tallies the number of officer-involved shootings and assaults on officers. It found instances where the department inflated the number of attacks on officers while under counting the number of officers who fired shots.
For example, when a suspect shot at police from inside a house in April 2011, the department counted 16 assaults on officers and one officer-involved shooting even though 15 officers fired their weapons.
When Bustamante recalculated last year's assault total to count the number of incidents instead of officers involved, he counted 106 attacks—a 45 percent drop from the department's total. He also found that the number of assaults on officers remained about even from 2010 to 2011.
"As such, there does not appear to be a clear correlation" between attacks and shootings, the report concluded.
Beck said in a statement that he stood by the idea that "there is a relationship between some types of attacks on police officers and officer-involved shootings."
He said at a September news conference that the increase in attacks on officers was indicated that falling crime rates in the city were freeing officers to more quickly confront violent suspects.