Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón on Wednesday announced the formation of an independent panel to re-examine fatal shootings by law enforcement officers that were previously deemed justified.
The Factual Analysis Citizen Consulting Team (FACCT) comprises 16 members, including a former LAPD commissioner, a senior staffer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, and an organizer from Black Lives Matter’s L.A. chapter. Civil rights lawyers, academics, and “constitutional police practices experts” are also part of the team.
“Significant concerns have been raised by law enforcement officials, civil rights attorneys, activists and others regarding the handling of numerous police use-of-force cases,” said Gascón. “In order to restore trust and move forward as a community, I am convening this group to thoroughly review the evidence and make recommendations on cases that we may need to examine more closely.”
FACCT will identify and prioritize the cases, then hand them off to law students at the University of California, Irvine, for examination. The students will report back to FACCT members and make presentations based on their reviews. Students from the Dornsife Trial Advocacy Program at the University of Southern California will also assist in the process.
According to the DA’s Office, “FACCT, either as a group or as individual members, will not opine whether charges should be filed,” but “will present findings and additional evidence that may be contrary to the prior decision to decline to prosecute.”
“The District Attorney’s Office will make the final decision on whether additional investigation is necessary, the matter is assigned to a special prosecutor or criminal charges will be filed,” Gascon’s media team confirmed.
“Until there is a standard that mandates a shooting is lawful when it is absolutely necessary and the last resort, we are going to continue to have unnecessary shootings that cause public outcry and skepticism,” said Gascón. “We eventually need to create legislation that gives the county the ability to create a separate entity that can independently review these cases.”
Gascón defeated two-term incumbent Jackie Lacey in November to become L.A. County’s top law enforcement official. During the campaign, he vowed to reopen at least four fatal officer-involved shooting cases that his predecessor declined to prosecute. Gascón said the public had lost trust in Lacey because of “the enormous sums of financial support” she had received from law enforcement unions.
Gascón’s office released the complete list of FACCT members on Wednesday, breaking them down into three categories:
Civil rights attorneys, scholars and activists:
- Shimica Gaskins — Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund, California, and former Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy of the U.S. Department of Justice
- Je Yon Jung — Civil rights attorney; former senior trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Erwin Chemerinsky — Dean of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, and constitutional scholar
- Barry Litt — Civil rights attorney and Partner at McLane, Bednarski and Litt, LLP
- Paula Minor — Black Lives Matter, Los Angeles organizer and activist
- Carlos Montes — Centro CSO-Chicano activist and organizer; Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council board member
- Melanie Ochoa — Senior staff attorney for Criminal Justice and Police Practices, American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California
- Olu Orange — Director of the University of Southern California Dornsife Trial Advocacy Program and the Agents of Change Civil Rights Advocacy Initiative; civil rights attorney at Orange Law Offices, P.C.
- Robert Saltzman — Commissioner, Los Angeles County Probation Oversight Commission and West Hollywood Business License Commission; former Commissioner, Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners; former Associate Dean, USC Gould School of Law
Academic law clinics/programs:
- Professor Paul Hoffman — Director Civil Rights Clinic and partner at Schonbrun, DeSimone, Seplow, Harris, & Hoffman, LLP
- Professor Katie Tinto — Director Criminal Justice Clinic and Clinical Professor of Law; former public defender, Alternate Public Defender’s Office of Los Angeles County
- Melanie Partow — Lecturer, Civil Rights Clinic and civil rights attorney
Police practices experts and advisors:
- TheronBowman — Former Chief of Police Arlington, Texas; former Deputy City Manager/Director Public Safety for Arlington; and CEO, Theron L. Bowman Inc.
- Allwyn Brown — Former Chief of Police, Richmond, California and LERT Ops lead at Tik Tok
- Roger Clark — Former lieutenant, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and CEO, Police Practices Consultant, Inc.
- Frank Fernandez — President of Blueprints 4 Safety; former Deputy Chief and Chief of Operations for Miami Police Department; and Public Safety Director for the City of Coral Gables