An inspector general’s report said the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department should have limits against pointing guns at unarmed people after sheriff’s deputies from the Santa Clarita station were witnessed pointed guns at unarmed teens in a recent incident.
The incident under scrutiny came after sheriff’s deputies responded to a call about three teens who allegedly attacked a man with their skateboards.
When deputies arrived on the scene, they approached the three teens at a bus stop with guns drawn. According to the Daily News, bystander video showed three deputies pointing their guns at the unarmed teens. One deputy wielded a rifle at the teens.
The three teens, two 16-year-olds and one 18-year-old, were detained briefly and questioned about the incident. They were then let go.
According to the inspector general’s report, the three deputies acted according to the LASD sheriff’s policy by pointing their guns at the teens.
The OIG’s faulted the department’s policy as being overly broad, and criticized the policy for allowing deputies to point rifles at people “without any apparent limitations” and without requiring documentation of such use of force.
The OIG explained that the sheriff’s department does not consider pointing a weapon at someone as a use of force, and therefore there is no reporting of such incidents.
“It is concerning that such behavior would never come to the attention of a supervisor without the public witnessing it, given the lack of reporting requirements means that there is no supervisorial or command staff assessment of the deputies’ conduct,” the investigators wrote. “It should not take the public’s response to a video of a deputy pointing a rifle at a juvenile to prompt a response from the Sheriff’s Department management to reconsider its rifle policy.”
LASD commanders later wrote in a letter to the person who issued the complaint that the deputies’ actions “should have been different.”
Following the incident, the deputies were subject to a performance evaluation but were not disciplined, the Daily News said.
So far, the department has not made any changes following the report.