Saturday, May 14, 2011

LAPD flouts its legal obligations to gun applicants

A lawless law enforcement body

Through their joint Legal Action Project, the NRA and CRPA Foundation are sponsoring two new legal actions to enforce a 16-year old court Order against the City of LA over its concealed weapons permit (CCW) issuance policies.

Under Penal Code § 12050, et seq., the LAPD has an obligation to process applications for CCWs, and to issue CCWs if the applicant has “good cause.” For many years, the City and the LAPD had a policy of not making applications available, never finding good cause to exist, and effectively prohibiting the issuance of any CCWs.

Two lawsuits filed in the 1990′s were supposed to change that. But despite a binding settlement in those suits that resulted in LAPD being ordered by a court to implement new policies, the LAPD has abandoned these court ordered policies for handling citizens’ applications for CCWs, and has fallen back on its old habits.

The City’s unlawful refusal to properly process CCW applications was challenged in two lawsuits in 1992 and 1994. To settle the suits the LAPD agreed to implement a specific and transparent court ordered procedure to provide clarity and fairness for citizens applying for CCWs. The LAPD agreed that all citizens who request a CCW permit application would be provided a CCW application at any LAPD station house, that the application would be accompanied by a written copy of the LAPD’s procedure for handling the application, and the applicants would be informed of the procedures for appealing the denial of a CCW application. The settlement also resulted in the establishment of a Citizens Advisory Review Panel, made up of appointed citizens who would review CCW applications denied by the LAPD and make recommendations regarding whether the LAPD should reverse its denial of the CCW application.

A memorandum discussing the suits and their history is posted here.

The LAPD has repeatedly failed to honor its legal obligations under the settlements. The LAPD no longer makes CCW applications and a written copy of the CCW policy and appeal process available at all station houses. And the LAPD is ignoring the recommendations of the Citizens Advisory Review Panel and has instead enacted a de facto policy of again issuing no CCWs, despite whatever showing of good cause the applicants might make.

So in a city with almost 4 million citizens, with some 300 CCW applications being made per year, LAPD has only granted 24 active CCWs. Citizens who have had credible and ongoing threats made against them and their families, and those who carry large sums of cash as part of job and are high-profile robbery targets, have been repeatedly denied CCWs despite meeting the “good cause” criteria for receiving CCWs that the LAPD was forced to agree to years ago.

To rectify this situation, two new legal actions are being pursued. The first new court action is a motion to enforce the court’s old order in the 1994 case, Assenza v. City of Los Angeles. Some of the original plaintiffs from that case seek to force the LAPD to reinstate its agreed-to policy of providing applications and copies of its written policy at all LAPD station houses. In support of its motion, NRA grassroots activist citizens who were recruited to investigate the LAPD’s practices have submitted declarations about their recent attempts to get CCW applications. They were frustrated by uncooperative officers at individual station houses, all of whom had a complete lack of understanding of the LAPD’s application process, and who in almost all instances could not provide a CCW application to the requesting citizen, much less a copy of the LAPD’s written policy. Perhaps most egregiously, LAPD officers bluntly told citizens that unless they were celebrities, they shouldn’t even bother filling out the CCW application because they would be denied a CCW as a matter of LAPD policy.

The second action is a new lawsuit, Davis v. City of Los Angeles. The nine plaintiffs in this new action, some of whom have had CCW applications pending and unresolved with the LAPD for years, have submitted sworn declarations attesting to a litany of missteps and abuses by LAPD in its handling of their CCW applications. These abuses include not only the failures to provide applications and copies of the written policies at stationhouses, but refusals to timely consider their applications, failures to respond to inquiries regarding the status of applications, failures to acknowledge the availability of the Citizens Advisory Review Panel as a method of appealing denial, and the failure to give any weight to recommendations by the Citizens Advisory Review Panel.


IL: 2 teens shot, charged with attempted robbery: "Two teens wounded outside a Concord Commons apartment late Thursday night face felony charges in connection with events that led to their shooting, police said. Orlando Marshall, 17, of 2021 W. 8th Ave., and Stephan Alexander, 19, of 4216 Jackson St., were stopped at 5th Avenue and Taft Street in a silver Chevrolet described by the man who said he was assaulted at the door of his apartment about 11 p.m. Kenneth Paige, 21, told police he heard someone knocking on his window about 11 p.m. and opened the building’s entrance door to the men he said he didn’t recognize. After hearing someone knock on his apartment door, Paige told police he thought something was wrong and grabbed his gun before opening the door. wo men beat him and pointed guns at him, then fled when Paige fired at both of them, Sgt. Williams Fazekas said. The teens face charges of criminal recklessness, attempted robbery and other felonies.

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