LOS ANGELES – Mayor Karen Bass today issued the following statement:
“I have grave concerns about the deeply disturbing tapes that were released today. My heart goes out to the families and loved ones who are mourning the loss of Takar Smith, Keenan Anderson and Oscar Sanchez.
“Full investigations are underway, and I pledge that the City's investigations into these deaths will be transparent and will reflect the values of Los Angeles. I will ensure that the City’s investigations will drive only toward truth and accountability. Furthermore, the officers involved must be placed on immediate leave.
“No matter what these investigations determine, however, the need for urgent change is clear. We must reduce the use of force overall, and I have absolutely no tolerance for excessive force. We must also lead our city forward – finally – on the mental health crisis that has been allowed to grow, fester and cause so much harm to individual Angelenos, their families and our communities.
“Especially as a former health care professional, I am deeply troubled that mental health experts were not called in, even when there was a documented history of past mental health crisis. When there is no immediate risk to others, law enforcement must not be the first responder when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis. I believe officers and Angelenos agree on this.
“Tragically, this is a national crisis, and in reviewing a sample of incidents in which people died during encounters with police as part of my legislative work in Congress, my office found that a third or more of the people involved were experiencing a mental health crisis.
“It is time that proven reforms are universally implemented and accelerated within LAPD. Los Angeles must lead nationally on mental health and use of force reform.
“I appreciate Chief Moore’s decision to release the footage today. Policy allows for up to 45 days before footage of use of force incidents is released, but I believe the Los Angeles Police Department must be as transparent as possible, as expeditiously as possible.
“Once again, my heart breaks for the families and loved ones who are experiencing such a tragic loss.”