Long Beach, California: Less-lethal Weaponry Case Study

In early 2002, officers from the Long Beach Police Department’s (LBPD) south patrol division were dispatched to a busy downtown area street regarding a woman armed with a knife. During this confrontation, she refused to drop her knife and continued to advance toward officers. Using the less-lethal weaponry available at the time, officers shot at her with four beanbag rounds from a less-lethal shotgun, all of which failed to disarm her. The incident ended shortly thereafter with an officer-involved shooting that resulted in the woman’s death. The woman’s death created a divide within a segment of the Long Beach community, which asked the police department to address their concerns.