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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:
Academic law clinics/programs:
Police practices experts and advisors: