LA officers to get flashlights too small to be used as weapons
The Associated Press
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LOS ANGELES — Police will soon be outfitted with a cutting edge flashlight that is not only brighter than others, but too small to be used as a weapon.
The idea for the 7060 LED flashlight was conceived just days after news cameras broadcast images of LAPD officers beating car-theft suspect Stanley Miller with a two-pound, two-foot long standard issue police flashlight.
Police Chief William Bratton banned the large flashlights after Miller's 2004 beating and called for manufacturers to create a smaller, brighter flashlight.
The new 10-inch, $100 flashlight was developed and manufactured by the Torrance-based company Pelican to meet LAPD specifications. It will feature both a standard "patrol mode" and an ultra-light "tactical mode" that is bright enough to temporarily blind suspects.
Bratton is scheduled to unveil the new flashlights Friday.
Ramona Ripston, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, praised the LAPD for the equipment change.
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"It's a really important step in the right direction, and it's going to make a difference in how the police department deals with the community," she said. "We've always felt that a flashlight was not an instrument to beat people with. This new one will serve the purpose it was intended to."