Arrow-right Camera


Cops Aim To Boost Firepower

Wed., March 5, 1997

The city’s police force soon will be armed with expanding hollow-point bullets, which are deadlier to their targets and kinder to bystanders.

The bullets are not supposed to ricochet or penetrate walls, reducing the risk that a bystander would be hit.

But civil rights advocates are criticizing the use of the bullets because of the devastating wounds they cause.

The decision to use the new bullets is “a sort of mobile death penalty strategy,” especially in communities that have experienced police brutality, said the Rev. Al Sharpton, a mayoral candidate.

The bullets are designed to stop as soon as they hit their target because their hollowed-out tips expand on impact. The force of that expansion violently rips through bone or flesh.

The Los Angeles Police Department also planned to increase its firepower Tuesday, asking for more powerful weapons after bank bandits outgunned officers last week.

Assistant Police Chief Bayan Lewis asked the Police Commission to approve a two-year plan for some officers to carry .45-caliber pistols and some sergeants to have M-16 rifles in their patrol cars. The standard service weapon is a 9mm pistol.

The two bank robbers, Emil Matasareanu and Larry Eugene Phillips Jr., died in Friday’s shootout but not before officers were forced to borrow weapons from a nearby gun shop to match the bandits’ AK-47- and M-16-type automatic weapons.


Click here to comment on this story »