At least not in LAPD reports anyway. If you’ve been following the story of the Cardenas Arrest Video then you’ve heard the term “Distraction Strike” more than once. The video shows Officer Farrell punch the suspect in the face at least 6 times while attempting to put hand cuffs on him. In the police report of the incident these were called “distraction strikes” which is a term often used in police reports to describe a strike given to a suspect to distract them long enough for an officer to apply a technique. Well, apparently it’s being used too often says Chief Bratton. On Friday the Chief officially banned the term from reports which will cause officers to be more specific in their descriptions of use of force events. It’s important to note that the policy allowing these strikes or what kind of force is allowed hasn’t changed, just that this term is becoming a catch-all and is too vague so it can no longer be used. While this might seem like arguing semantics at first glance I’m of the opinion this is a good thing as more detail in these reports can only help as far as I’m concerned. Apparently the term is frequently being used to describe strikes applied to suspects to get them to submit to arrest which is an incorrect definition. This applies specifically to the Cardenas video, according the LA Times:
Some officials said the punches were thrown because the officers believed that the suspect was reaching for one of their gun belts. Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell said the term should not be used to describe punches to the face of a suspect reaching for a gun belt so that the arrest can be completed.
He said elimination of the term is meant to force officers to describe their actions in greater detail. Too many officers appearing before the department’s Use of Force Review Board were saying in their defense that they used distraction strikes.
With the term abolished, officers now will be asked to give a more descriptive account, McDonnell said.
And speaking of distractions and the LAPD, watch out, there’s an ass grabber on the loose!