Comisión de LAPD Justifica Tiroteo

July 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

La Comisión de la Policía de Los Ángeles, un organismo civil que supervisa las acciones del Departamento de Policía (LAPD), consideró el martes que los disparos realizados por agentes de Boyle Heights contra un adolescente hispano que murió a causa de las balas fueron justificados.

En una votación de tres a favor y uno en contra, la Comisión encontró el martes que los disparos realizados por el agente Edén Medina que causaron la muerte al joven Jesse Romero, de 14 años, fueron justificados según el reglamento del LAPD.

Romero, quien hubiera cumplido 16 años el próximo 24 de agosto, murió a causa de dos disparos que recibió cuando huía de la policía el 9 de agosto de 2016 en Boyle Heights al este de Los Ángeles.

El LAPD informó que cuando los agentes respondieron a una llamada denunciando que alguien estaba cometiendo actos vandálicos con grafiti en una propiedad, encontraron a tres hombres en el lugar señalado.

Agregó que cuando la policía se acercó hacia los tres, Romero “inmediatamente huyó de los oficiales, mientras agarraba la parte frontal de su cintura”, lo que obligó a los agentes a iniciar una persecución a pie.

Durante la persecución se escuchó un disparo y los agentes respondieron al fuego, dando muerte al adolescente.

Un revolver fue encontrado a unos 10 pies (3 m) del cuerpo de Romero al otro lado de una cerca metálica.

Los representantes de la familia de Romero alegan que el joven no disparó contra los agentes, sino que tiró el arma por encima de la cerca y se disparó al caer al pavimento.

Los padres del hispano presentaron una demanda civil contra la ciudad y el oficial Medina el 23 de junio, alegando que la ciudad ha sido permisiva con este tipo de conductas de los agentes.

“Yo sólo quiero justicia para mi hijo, por favor”, dijo el martes Teresa Domínguez, madre de Jesse, durante una intervención previa a la decisión de la junta.

En otra votación unánime, la Comisión consideró que los disparos que cobraron la vida de Kenney Watkins, de 18 años, también se hicieron siguiendo las normas de la policía.

Los hechos ocurrieron una semana después de la muerte de Romero, cuando el agente Evan Urías quiso detener un automóvil que no tenía placas y Watkins, que viajaba como pasajero, salió del auto y comenzó a huir.

Durante la persecución, el policía, que ya había visto que Watkins tenía un arma en su mano y alcanzó a ver parte de otra en su cintura, disparó contra el joven. Luego, junto al cuerpo de Watkins se encontraron dos armas.

En su defensa, Urías argumentó que su vida y la de su compañero estaban en peligro.

La familia de Watkins, que también presentó una demanda legal reclamando que su hijo no estaba armado y que la policía abusó de su autoridad, no estuvo presente en la sesión del martes.

Activistas, especialmente miembros de Black Lives Matter, pidieron que se aplazara la decisión, petición que no fue aceptada por los procedimientos de la Comisión.

Ante los reclamos airados de los activistas, la policía declaró ilegal la protesta y procedió a desalojar el recinto.

Police Panel Says Shooting of Teen ‘Within Policy’

July 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles Police Commission ruled Tuesday that officers were justified in fatally shooting an armed 14-year-old boy last summer after responding to a graffiti call.

The board ruled — on a 3-1 vote — that the shooting was within department policy, which was in agreement with a report by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, though the panel ruled unanimously that one of the officer’s tactics leading up to the shooting were not within policy.

Jesse James Romero was killed around 5:50 p.m. last Aug. 9 near Breed Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue. Officers said they believed he fired a shot at them from around a corner, although his parents claim in a federal lawsuit filed last month that the teen threw the gun over a fence and it discharged.

“There’s no justification for why they killed my son,” Teresa Dominguez told the commissioners in Spanish before they met in a closed session and voted on the case.

According to Beck, officers had gone to the neighborhood on a report of graffiti and vandalism in an alley and encountered three suspects, including Romero, who ran away and looked like he had a weapon in his waistband.

A video surveillance camera captured Romero running with a gun in his waistband. Before rounding a corner, the officers heard a gunshot and believed he was firing at them, according to Beck’s report.

When Officer Eden Medina turned the corner, he reported seeing Romero in a squatting position, with his right hand extended out, and fired two rounds in response. At least one of the shots struck the teen, who was the second suspect to be shot and killed by Medina in a 12-day period.

The report did not state that Medina actually saw the gun in Romero’s hand, and the officer’s body camera showed that the weapon was found behind a wrought-iron fence.

A witness told the Los Angeles Times that Romero threw the gun toward a fence and that it went off when it hit the ground. The same witness said Romero turned around and looked startled after the shot went off before two more gunshots brought him to the ground.

Police said another witness saw Romero shoot in the direction of the officers. Beck’s report did not state where Romero was hit by gunfire, but the lawsuit states that he was shot in the back.

“It would have been impossible for Jesse to have the gun in his hand at the time the officers shot him in the back,” Humberto Guizar, an attorney representing Romero’s family in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city, said in June.

The Romero’s lawsuit alleges the LAPD delayed getting medical assistance for the teen, and lacked probable cause to stop him and to use deadly force against him. In doing so, Romero was deprived of his civil rights and Medina caused his wrongful death, the suit alleges.

The lawsuit also alleges the LAPD has failed to properly train and supervise its officers, leading to the unnecessary and unreasonable use of excessive force, and used unconstitutional police tactics to investigate use-of-force incidents.

“The LAPD has fostered a culture of allowing its officers to shoot people and get way with it, and not discipline them and not take them off the streets,” Guizar alleged.

Activists responded angrily to the commission’s votes Tuesday in the fatal officer-involved shooting deaths of Romero and that of Kenney Watkins, 18, who police said pulled out two guns after a traffic stop last August in South Los Angeles. Watkins was killed near the 400 block of West Century Boulevard about 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 16.

According to a lawsuit filed last December by Watkins’ mother, Prescious Sasser, her son was unarmed and was not a threat to the officer. She is seeking unspecified damages on allegations of wrongful death, negligence, assault, battery, negligent hiring and civil rights violations.

These and other officer-involved shootings sparked months of angry and often disruptive protests of police commission meetings by Black Lives Matter and eastside activists, a reaction that continued Tuesday.

Longtime community activist Carlos Montes has been fighting “police brutality” by the LAPD for years, most recently organizing protests in response to the shooting of Romero and others in Boyle Heights.

Montes told EGP previously that the problem in the LAPD is “systemic.”

“ … when is the last time a police officer got prosecuted for murder,” he said.

The police commission’s vote Tuesday affirmed Beck’s report that Medina was within department policy — which allows an officer to shoot a suspect if he fears for his life or the life of another — when he fatally shot Romero.

EGP staff writers contributed to this report.

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