LAPD Identifies Officer Involved in Police Shootings

October 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A Los Angeles police officer was involved in two fatal shootings within two weeks last summer, according to broadcast reports.

The LAPD identified Eden Medina as the officer involved in the July 28 shooting death of Omar Gonzalez in East Los Angeles and the Aug. 9 shooting death of 14-year-old Jesse Romero in Boyle Heights, according to the reports.

Medina fatally shot Gonzalez – said to be armed with a semi-automatic handgun – during a fight with officers following a pursuit of a stolen car that ended near the 1200 block of Atwood Street, police said.

Medina fatally shot Romero after the teen fired at an officer responding to a vandalism call near Chicago Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue, police said.

Both shootings remain under investigation.

Breves de la Comunidad

October 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Este de Los Ángeles

(CNS)- Se espera otro fin de semana repleto con retrasos y congestiones del tráfico en el Este de Los Ángeles. Esto, a causa del cierre de 54 horas de la parte dirigida al norte de la Autopista 710 hacia Long Beach.

De acuerdo al Departamento de Transportación de California (Caltrans en inglés), el lado hacia el norte de la autopista cerrará entre la conexión de la Autopista 5 de Santa Ana y la 60 hacia Pomona hasta las 4 a.m. del lunes. Se espera que el proyecto de reemplazo de asfalto, con costo total de $120 millones, instale 90 paneles de concreto cada fin de semana.

El cierre ocurrirá seis veces más con la excepción de los fin de semanas de Oct. 28-31, Nov. 11-14 y Nov. 25-28.

Este de Los Ángeles

(CNS)- Un oficial del Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles ha estado envuelto en dos tiroteos fatales a lo largo de dos semanas, el verano pasado de acuerdo a reportes de transmisión.

El oficial, Eden Medina, fue parte de la muerta de Omar González el 28 de julio en el Este de Los Ángeles y de nuevo el 9 de agosto en el encuentro con Jesse Romero en Boyle Heights según los reportes.

Medina disparó en contra de González, quien se dijo iba armado con una pistola semiautomática durante una pelea con los oficiales después de una persecución que acabó en el bloque 1200 de la Calle Atwood.

Medina también disparó en contra de Romero después de que el joven huyó y disparó en dirección de los oficiales durante una persecución a pie en la calle Chicago y Avenida Cesar Chávez. Ambos incidentes permanecen bajo investigación.


(CNS)- Un accidente automovilístico involucró a tres vehículos la mañana del 16 de octubre en la Autopista 60 en Montebello. Esto causó un cierre temporal de los carriles por casi 40 minutos, pero no se reportaron heridos, según la Patrulla de Autopistas de California.

El accidente ocurrió a las 2 a.m. al este del Bulevar Paramount entre una Ford Expedition, un sedán Kia y un camión.

Echo Park

(CNS)- Un hombre murió después de ser tiroteado el 17 de octubre en Echo Park, según la policía.

El tiroteo fue reportado a las 9:31 p.m. cerca de la intersección de las Calles Mohawk y Montana. Aun se buscan a los dos hombres creídos en estar relacionados con su muerte.

LAPD Panel Orders Review of Public Disclosure in Police Shootings

October 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The city Police Commission Tuesday unanimously approved changes to the way the Los Angeles Police Department handles police shootings, including increasing de-escalation training for officers and releasing more information about shootings sooner.

While some other police departments already offer real-life simulation training for officers on a regular basis, the LAPD is in the early stages of offering training that includes “reality-based” drills, according to an Inspector General report presented to the commission Tuesday.

LAPD began rolling out the reality-based training in 2015, with all officers expected to take it by 2017, according to the report. There are no plans yet to offer the training on a regular basis.

The Office of the Inspector General’s report compared the LAPD’s “use-of-force” policies to those of departments in Las Vegas, Dallas, San Diego and Washington, D.C.

According to the report, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department requires patrol officers to undergo four-hour drill-based training two times a year that includes a de-escalation scenario. Dallas Police Department patrol officers must take part in daylong reality-based training annually. And every two years, all officers with the Washington, D.C. police department are required to take a 40-hour training session that uses a “tactical village” scenario drill.

The panel unanimously backed Commission President Matt Johnson and Commissioner Sandra Figueroa-Villa’s recommendations that the department increase and offer reality-based training on a regular basis.

Johnson said he wants to do more training that “takes officers out of the classrooms, away from the computer” and puts them into “real-life interactive scenarios.”

The drills would allow officers to practice reacting to “potentially volatile situations in a controlled environment,” he said.

The OIG also looked into other departments’ practices for releasing details and video footage of police shootings, and found that the Las Vegas department had the most liberal policies.

Las Vegas police officials put out video statements on YouTube a few hours after shootings, according to the OIG report.

Within about three days of a shooting, Las Vegas department officials provide detailed summaries, including the names and tenure of the officers involved, the shooting victim or suspect’s identity and other details, video and 911 recordings, crime scene photographs and information about the evidence that was recovered, according to the OIG report.

The commission Tuesday also approved Johnson and Figueroa-Villa’s recommendation that the department look at “what additional information regarding uses of force, including officer-involved shooting incidents can be released to the public in an expedited fashion and develop a protocol for ensuring the accuracy of the information released.”

Johnson said he believes “we have the obligation to provide the public as much accurate information as is responsible.”

The commission instructed department officials to report back on the recommendations within 90 days.

Commissioner Cynthia McClain-Hill expressed support for the recommendations, saying that “we have an obligation to review and reconsider if there are ways we can be better.”

Responding to the OIG report, Police Chief Charlie Beck said, “It’s important to look at the other agencies’ experiences so we can make this the best police department that it can possibly be.”

But he cautioned that “state laws are different, that union agreements are different, that demands on police officers vary from city to city, so not one size fits all, but all these things are worth considering.”

He added that he likes that Las Vegas gives out information on “the totality of the investigation” and that the department does a “presentation.”

“I like the fact (the presentation is) available to the public via video so everybody can watch it,” he said. “So I think those things are excellent. Now whether or not we would adhere to the same timeline that they do, their state laws are different… and in fact the volume of work that Las Vegas does is very different than ours too.”

The Las Vegas department serves a population of about 1.5 million people, compared to Los Angeles’ population of 4 million, according to the OIG report.


LAPD Attempts to Improve Trust in Boyle Heights

October 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A rash of officer-involved-shootings targeting Latinos and African Americans has sparked calls for greater transparency in police use of force incidents in the Los Angeles Police Department. Calls for better training of police officers working in neighborhoods like Boyle Heights, where the recent fatal police shooting of a teenager sparked protests and a lawsuit by the victim’s family, are also on the rise.

The relationship between Los Angeles police and the city’s Eastside community is complicated. It’s been that way for generations.

At the Ramona Gardens pubic housing complex in Boyle Heights, for example, police for years were seen more as an occupying force than protectors against the gang-related crime and violence that has plagued the area for decades. Residents complained that LAPD’s “heavy hand” and “racial profiling” had led to many young Latinos being wrongly incarcerated, beaten or shot.

“People had a very negative image of the police,” recalls Sister Mary Catherine Antczak, principal at nearby Santa Teresita School.

On Tuesday, the L.A. Police Commission moved to require police officers to undergo “reality-based” training on a regular basis. Commission President Matt Johnson said he wants more training that “takes officers out of the classrooms, away from the computer” and puts them into “real-life interactive scenarios,” in hopes of de-escalating volatile situations.

A memorial is set up in Boyle Heights at the location where a 14-year-old was shot by an LAPD officer.  (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

A memorial is set up in Boyle Heights at the location where a 14-year-old was shot by an LAPD officer. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

For one group of LAPD officers, positive involvement with Ramona Gardens residents is how they hope to combat years of distrust and de-escalate conflicts.

“Believe it or not, most people here like us,” Officer Rivas told EGP on Monday.

Rivas is one of 10 officers in LAPD’s Community Safety Partnership (CSP) unit based out of the Hollenbeck Station and exclusively assigned to Ramona Gardens. Since 2011, the unit’s mission has been to improve community relations while reducing crime. Their efforts have focused on providing services to steer children in the low-income housing complex away from the entrenched Hazard Gang that has for generations called the area home.

“We are here to break that cycle,” says Rivas.

After their daily patrols, officers return to the community to coach after school youth programs, including football, baseball, boxing and folklorico dancing. The officers also host community events and chaperone field trips to sporting events, theme parks and museums.

At first, parents, some of them former gang members, were hesitant to interact with the officers or to allow their children to participate in activities. It was hard to get past their views of abuse, excessive force and racial profiling by the LAPD in their own backyard.

Over the last five years however, may parents have experienced a change of heart and over 100 children ages 6 to 19 now participate in programs offered by CSP, according to Rivas.

“The greatest measure of trust is that these parents let the police interact with their children,” Sister Antczak points out.

Three of Rudy Espinoza’s children participate in the program. He’s lived in Ramona Gardens all his life and recalls that there was a time when he never would have thought of approaching a patrol car, let alone allowing his children to regularly interact with police officers.

“The kids feel safe in their presence,” he now acknowledges. “[The program] has built trust, specially for the younger generation,” he told EGP Monday.

Alejandro Cruz, 14, told EGP he reluctantly joined CSP programs when he was 8-years-old.

“At first I did not trust them,” he said. “But my mother knew at a certain age gangs would try to recruit me,” he explained.

Since then, Cruz has joined the running club, football team and taken trips to Dodgers games and Knott’s Berry Farm with the officers.

“They have motivated me and inspired me to move out of the projects and get more out of life,” says the Cathedral High School student.

Many single mothers in the area rely on the programs, explains Sister Antczek.

Our officers at times serve as father figures to the children, adds Officer Rivas.

“We tell them ‘it’s not where you live, it’s what you do with your life’” that matters, he explains.

(EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

(EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Instead of fearing or running from police as they did in the past, Antczak tells EGP she now often sees people, including children, willingly approach officers patrolling the area.

She recalled an occasion when she grew concerned because she saw two eighth-grade students run off during a religious event, but to her surprise, they’d actually taken off to say hello to the local police officers, and were smiling and laughing when she found them.

“Who would believe that when young teenagers see the police they would be running towards them?”

But not everyone feels the same or sees interactions with the LAPD in such a positive light.

Many local activists still distrust the police and point to recent fatal encounters as proof that there is a long way to go before they’ll believe things have changed.

Two months ago, 14-year-old Jesse Romero was shot by a police officer in Boyle Heights during a foot chase. Already reeling from news of police shootings of African Americans and riots in other parts of the country, local activists were outraged that a vandalism call had ended with police shooting and killing the teenager. Protests and demands for justice have been ongoing.

There are conflicting reports about whether Romero shot at police officers; one witness claims the teen threw the gun at a fence, which inadvertently released a gunshot.

Longtime community activist Carlos Montes has been advocating against excessive use of force by the LAPD for years, most recently helping to organize protests in response to the shooting of Romero and others in recent months.

These days it’s hard to gauge whether the relationship between the LAPD and the community has really improved, he told EGP, pointing out that there have been five officer-involved shootings in Boyle Heights since February.

“There are police officers that want to kill and they want to shoot,” he claims. “There is a systematic problem…when is the last time a police officer got prosecuted for murder,” he said, showing that there are still those who don’t trust that justice will ever be served when it comes to cases involving excessive use of force by police.

Montes maintain CSP is just another LAPD “public relations” effort that does not address the core problem.

“Ramona Gardens has had a long history of police brutality and police killings,” Montes said. “They [LAPD] need too stop killing people and stop targeting blacks and browns.”

For the 14-year-old Cruz, police-involved shootings are a concern. He told EGP that when tragic officer-involved shootings take place, especially those involving LAPD, he will ask the officers he knows to explain what happened.

In his view, the LAPD has changed Ramona Gardens for the better. He says parents no longer fear letting their children play outside, something he was not allowed to do when he first moved there.

“It still looks scary, but it feels safer,” he said.

The positive interactions between the officers and children through CSP have also slowly started to change the way their parents view the LAPD presence in Ramona Gardens.

“The kids are ambassadors in some ways,” points out Sister Antczak. “With everything being said about police officers, this program is the way to build trust.”


Programa del LAPD Cultiva Confianza En Ramona Gardens

October 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Un brote de tiroteos, involucrando a oficiales de la policía y dirigidos hacia los latinos y afro americanos, han provocado un llamado para mayor transparencia en el uso de fuerza del Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles (LAPD). Imploraciones a que se mejoren los entrenamientos de los oficiales, quienes trabajan en vecindarios como Boyle Heights, lugar donde recientemente murió un adolescente tiroteado por la policía, también han incrementado. Esto, ha causado protestas y hasta una demanda de parte de la familia de la victima.

La relación entre la policía de Los Ángeles y la comunidad del este de la ciudad es complicada, siendo así por generaciones.

Por ejemplo, en Ramona Gardens, complejo de viviendas públicas en Boyle Heights, los policías han sido vistos más como una potencia invasora en vez de ser vistos como protectores del crimen pandillero y la violencia que ha plagado el área por décadas. Los residentes se quejan de que el uso de la “mano dura” y de las “caracterizaciones raciales” del LAPD han causado a que varios jóvenes latinos hayan sido golpeados, encarcelados o tiroteados erróneamente.

“La gente tiene una imagen bien negativa de la policía”, dijo la hermana Mary Catherine Antczak, directora de la escuela cercana, Santa Teresita.

El martes, la Comisión de Policía de Los Ángeles decidió requerirle a sus oficiales a que regularmente tomen un entrenamiento “basado en la realidad”. Matt Johnson, presidente de la comisión, dijo que quiere más entrenamientos que saquen a los oficiales de las aulas, alejados de las computadoras”, y que los pongan en “escenarios de la vida real” con la esperanza de que esto apacigüe las situaciones precarias.

Para uno de los oficiales del LAPD, este involucramiento positivo con los residentes de Ramona Gardens es como él piensa combatir los años de desconfianza y aliviar la tensión.

“Aunque no lo crea, la gente aquí nos quiere”, le dijo el oficial Rivas a EGP el lunes.

Rivas es uno de los 10 oficiales parte de la unidad, LAPD’s Community Safety Partnership (CSP), basada en la estación de Hollenbeck y exclusivamente asignada a Ramona Gardens. Desde el 2011, la misión de la unidad ha sido mejorar las relaciones entre la comunidad y reducir el crimen. Sus esfuerzos se han enfocado en proveer servicios para apartar a los niños, de los complejos de viviendas de bajos recursos, de la Pandilla Hazard, quien por generaciones ha llamado al área su hogar.

“Estamos aquí para romper el ciclo” dijo Rivas.

Después de sus patrullas diarias, los oficiales regresan a la comunidad a entrenar a los niños en programas extracurriculares. Estos incluyen programas de fútbol americano, béisbol, boxeo y danzas folclóricas. Los oficiales también planifican eventos comunitarios y sirven como chaperónes en excursiones a eventos deportivos, parques de atracciones y a museos.

A principio, los padres, algunos de ellos ex pandilleros, estaban inseguros en relacionarse con los oficiales y mucho más de permitir que sus hijos participaran en las actividades. Fue difícil superar sus impresiones del LAPD de abuso, fuerza excesiva y caracterizaciones raciales que habían visto en su propio territorio.

Sin embargo, durante los últimos cinco años, varios padres han tenido un cambio de actitud y más de 100 niños entre las edades de 6 a 19 participan actualmente en los programas ofrecidos por el CSP, de acuerdo a Rivas.

“La mayor demostración de confianza es que los padres les permitan a los oficiales el interactuar con sus hijos”, señaló la hermana Antczak.

Tres de los hijos de Rudy Espinoza participan en el programa. Él ha vivido en Ramona Gardens toda su vida y recuerda que había un tiempo en el que nunca se podría haber acercado a una patrulla, mucho menos dejar que sus hijos interactuaran con los policías.

“Los niños se sienten seguros en su presencia”, el admite ahora. “[El programa] ha establecido confianza, especialmente entre las generaciones jóvenes”, le dijo a EGP el lunes.

Alejandro Cruz, de 14 años le dijo a EGP que él se unió al programa de mala gana cuando tenía 8 años.

“Al principio, no les tenía confianza”, dijo él. “Pero mi mamá sabía de que iba a llegar la hora en que las pandillas iban a intentar reclutarme”, explicó.

Desde entonces, Cruz se ha unido al club de corredores, el de fútbol americano y ha asistido a juegos de los Dodgers y también ha visitado a Knott’s Berry Farm con los oficiales.

“Me han motivado e inspirado a mudarme fuera de los proyectos [de residencia pública] y sacarle más a la vida”, dijo el estudiante de Cathedral High School.

Varias madres solteras en el área también se amparan en los programas, explica la hermana Antczak.

Nuestros oficiales a veces sirven como figuras paternas para los niños, agregó el oficial Rivas.

“Les decimos, ‘no es en dónde vives sino lo que decides hacer con tu vida’ que importa”, explicó.

En lugar de tener temor de huir de la policía, como lo hicieron en el pasado, Antczak le dijo a EGP que ahora ve frecuentemente a las personas, incluyendo a los niños, acercándoseles voluntariamente a los oficiales que patrullan el vecindario.

Ella recuerda una vez que se preocupó porque vio a dos niños de octavo grado corriéndose de un evento religioso, pero a su sorpresa, lo hacían para ir a saludar a los oficiales locales y estaban carcajeándose cuando los encontraron.

“Quien hubiera pensado de que estos jóvenes, al ver a la policía corrieran hacia ellos?”

No obstante, no todos piensan de la misma manera o ven las interacciones con el LAPD con buenos ojos.

Varios activistas locales todavía desconfían en la policía y señalan a los recientes encuentros como prueba de que todavía hay un largo camino por recorrer antes de que crean que las cosas han cambiado.

Dos meses atrás, Jesse Romero, un adolescente de 14 años fue tiroteado por oficiales policiales en Boyle Heights durante una persecución a pie. Conmovidos por las noticias de encuentros policiales con afro americanos y protestas en otras partes del país, activistas locales se indignaron que una llamada reportando vandalismo acabara en un tiroteo y en la muerte de un joven. Protestas y demandas para la justicia siguen en marcha por los hechos.

Hay informes contradictorios acerca de que si Romero le disparó a los oficiales ya que un testigo asegura de que el joven tiró una pistola por encima de un cerca, la cual se disparó inadvertidamente.

Carlos Montes, activista de la comunidad por varios años, ha estado luchando contra el uso excesivo de fuerza por el LAPD y recientemente ayudó a organizar varias protestas en respuesta a la muerte de Romero.

Actualmente, es difícil evaluar si las relaciones entre el LAPD y la comunidad han mejorado realmente, le dijo a EGP, señalando que han habido cinco tiroteos involucrando a oficiales en Boyle Heights desde febrero.

“Hay policías que quieren matar y quieren disparar”, asegura él. “Hay un problema sistemático…cuándo fue la última vez que un policía fue procurado por asesinato?”, preguntó, demostrando que aun existen aquellos que desconfían que la justicia llegue en los casos de brutalidad policial.

Montes mantiene que el CSP es solamente un esfuerzo de “relaciones públicas” del LAPD para no discutir el problema central.

“Ramona Garden ha tenido un historial de brutalidad policial y de muertes de policías”, Montes dijo. “Ellos [el LAPD] necesitan dejar de matar a la gente y de apuntarles a los afro americanos y latinos”.

A Cruz, el joven de 14 años, le preocupan los tiroteos involucrando a la policía. Él le dijo a EGP que cuando esos incidentes ocurren, él les pide a los oficiales que le expliquen lo que pasó. De su punto de vista, el LAPD ha mejorado a Ramona Gardens. Él dice que los padres ya no tienen temor de dejar que sus hijos jueguen afuera, algo que no era permitido hacer cuando ellos llegaron al área.

“Se ve peligroso pero se siente más seguro”, él dijo.

Las interacciones positivas entre los oficiales y los niños, por medio del CSP, también han cambiado lentamente la percepción de los padres hacia la policía en Ramona Gardens.

“Los niños son embajadores, en cierta manera”, dijo la hermana Antczak. “Con todo lo que se ha dicho de los oficiales, este programa es la manera de construir la confianza”.

Jóven Latino Matado Por Policía Buscaba Suicidio, Según Autoridades

October 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

El adolescente latino que fue abatido por agentes de la policía tras enfrentarse con ellos con una pistola de réplica el pasado domingo lo planeó todo como un suicidio, informó el Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles (LAPD) el 7 de octubre.

En conferencia de prensa, el jefe de LAPD, Charlie Beck, detalló que Daniel Enrique Pérez, de 16 años, dejó una nota de despedida para su familia y llamó al 911 para reportar un hombre con una pistola en el Sur de Los Ángeles, dando una descripción que coincidía con la de él mismo.

“Creemos que este tiroteo con la participación de oficiales fue el resultado de su intención de poner fin a su propia vida”, dijo Beck refiriéndose al joven latino.

El domingo en la tarde, el servicio de emergencias 911 recibió una llamada de alguien que informó sobre la presencia de un hombre armado en un sector específico del sur de Los Ángeles.

Cerca de 20 minutos después, alrededor de las 5:00 de la tarde hora local, oficiales de la División Newton localizaron a una persona que coincidía con la descripción del sujeto que buscaban.

El supuesto atacante apuntó un arma hacia ellos por lo que un agente abrió fuego en su contra.

El hombre resultó ser un adolescente hispano y el arma una réplica, con la cinta amarilla del cañón pintada o cubierta de negro, para hacerla parecer verdadera.

Beck aseguró que los vídeos de las cámaras personales de los policías coinciden con la narrativa de los agentes y que el policía que disparó contra el joven “está devastado”

Durante la investigación, las autoridades encontraron una llamada al 911 realizada desde el teléfono de Pérez, a la misma hora en que ocurrió la denuncia del “hombre armado”.

El jefe de la policía igualmente detalló que datos ofrecidos por la familia confirman la teoría de las autoridades de su plan de buscar el llamado “suicidio por la policía”.

La muerte de Pérez se suma a varias de otros hispanos ocurridas durante el año en la zona.

La familia de Jesse Romero, el quinto latino muerto este año por agentes de Boyle Heights, un área patrullada también por la División Newton, anunció hoy una acción legal contra la ciudad y su Departamento de Policía por disparar al joven mientras éste huía, según aseguran, desarmado.

Romero, quien hubiera cumplido 15 años el pasado 24 de agosto, murió a causa de dos disparos que recibió cuando huía de la policía el 9 de agosto en esta área del este de Los Ángeles.

Video Does Little to Calm Anger in Police Shooting

October 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Police Chief Charlie Beck Tuesday released security video of the chase that ended with the fatal police shooting of an 18-year-old man in South Los Angeles, but the move did little to satisfy activists who angrily shouted down the chief at a Police Commission meeting, demanding his ouster.

The video, which Beck said he released after consultation with Mayor Eric Garcetti and the District Attorney’s Office, shows Carnell Snell Jr. running with his left hand in a sweatshirt pocket, and at one point he removes his hand to reveal a handgun. He holds the gun at his side briefly, then tucks it in his waistband, turns and runs away from the camera, out of sight, with officers in pursuit.

The video does not show the actual shooting.

Beck said he decided to release the video to correct what he called competing accounts about Saturday’s shooting of Snell. He suggested that “dueling narratives” emerging about the shooting threatened to “further divide the community.”

The release of the tape came as the LAPD worked to quell protests sparked by the death of the black teenager, who was shot on 107th Street Saturday afternoon. The next day, police fatally shot another man in South L.A., a Latino. Beck said that suspect a replica gun at officers. The orange tip of the replica gun had been painted black to make it look real, the chief said.

Despite release of the video, anger still boiled over at a Police Commission meeting Tuesday in downtown Los Angeles, where activists repeatedly shouted at Beck as he tried to give an update to the panel.

One woman sneered as Beck tried to announce that department members are available to speak with members of Snell’s family.

“You’re a disgusting person,” the woman shouted at one point. “You’re a horrible leader. … You should quit for the good of the city.”

With order somewhat restored, Beck went on to decry the “amount of guns that are out on our streets.” He said 450 people have been shot so far this year in just four LAPD divisions, where more than 500 guns have been recovered.

“Handguns are far too prevalent,” Beck said. “… Until we address the core issue of violence in our communities … primarily young men with guns, we are going to be doomed to this cycle.”

Tensions later ramped up again, with the mother of Richard Risher, a man police fatally shot earlier this year in Watts, said she felt revenge on officers was the only option, saying Beck has so far failed to give her an adequate response about her son’s death.

“From today, (expletive) this protesting (expletive), I’m going to start taking your lives,” Lisa Simpson said.

Eddie H. of the Los Angeles Community Action Network attempted to put Simpson’s words into context, telling the commission that “when we cry out saying no more blood in the streets of our young men and women, our sisters, our mothers, our fathers, we’re serious about this.”

“It’s getting to the point where we really do feel that the only way this is going to change is by revolution,” he said.

He added that he was not “advocating for violence by any stretch of the imagination,” but it would not surprise him if things do turn violent.

“To all who are in this room today, we all should be held accountable,” he said. “For you are complicit if you allow your voice to continue to be impotent while we are slaughtered in the streets … if you can’t see the hurt and pain that we experience on a daily basis — so we’re saying right now, stand up and be counted.”

During the meeting, about a dozen protesters turned their backs on the chief and police commissioners.

Beck later told reporters that he understands that Simpson “grieves, but Los Angeles police officers have a very dangerous job.”

“They are courageous people,” he said. “They want to make a difference in society and they want to do the right thing. Occasionally they fall short, but the vast majority of the time they do not.”

“To have somebody target an individual just because of their profession is certainly no better than targeting somebody because of their race,” he said.

Activists Tuesday also accused Beck of selectively releasing a video that showed Snell in a bad light, while refusing to release others.

“It (the video) does not negate what the public says,” Melina Abdullah, a member of Black Lives Matter, said. “You’re trying to assassinate the character of Carnell Snell after you assassinate his body.”

She added that if the police department has the “discretion to release that tape, you can release every tape” that members of the public have been asking for.

Activists have repeatedly asked the police department to release videos of use-of-force cases, as well as footage that provides more details as to what happened to Wakiesha Wilson, a woman who was found unconscious in her jail cell on Easter Sunday and later died at the hospital.

Beck said that releasing the video footage, which was captured by a business security camera and did not belong to the department, does not obligate him to release body and in-car digital camera footage belonging to the police department.

Police Commissioner Matt Johnson said efforts are underway to develop a system for deciding whether to release videos from incidents of police force.

Man Accused of Stabbing Mother

September 29, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A 26-year-old man accused of stabbing his mother in their Boyle Heights home was ordered Monday to stand trial on an attempted murder charge.

Angel Hernandez, who is being held on more than $1 million bail, is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 13.

The stabbing occurred about 12:10 a.m. Feb. 22 in the 3700 block of Lee Street, where the victim lived with her son.

“The mother was upset with her son for an incident that occurred earlier in the day,” according to a statement issued by the Los Angeles Police Department when Hernandez was arrested.

“Hernandez’s sister heard the mother pleading with her son that what he was doing wasn’t necessary and to just leave. Hernandez’s sister then heard what sounded like Hernandez physically assaulting their mother. Looking through a kitchen window, she saw her brother retrieve a large kitchen knife.”

When officers arrived at the home, they found the mother with multiple stab wounds to her neck, arms and legs, but her son was nowhere to be found.

Hernandez was arrested three days later in El Sereno by the lead detective on the case, who interviewed Hernandez’ mother at the hospital. The detective was on his way back to the station after the interview when he spotted Hernandez walking in the area and called for back-up, police said.

LAPD Panel Finds Officers’ Deadly Actions ‘Improper’

September 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles Police Commission decided Tuesday that three officers acted improperly last year in killing two people in separate shooting cases.

The commission decided that officers Zackary Goldstein and Andrew Hacoupian violated department policy on the use of deadly force when they fired shots at 46-year-old James Byrd in Van Nuys on Oct. 3, ultimately killing him.

Byrd had thrown a 40-ounce glass beer bottle through the rear window of a patrol car, leading the officers inside to believe they were being shot at, according to police accounts and a report by Chief Charlie Beck.

The officers had been stopped at a red light, about to turn onto Victory Boulevard from Sepulveda Boulevard, when the rear window of the vehicle was shattered.

The officers said that after they got out of the cruiser, they saw Byrd was pointing his hand at them while holding what appeared to be a handgun or dark object.

It was unclear what the man was holding, but an investigation failed to turn up any weapon other than the broken glass bottle found in the back seat of the patrol vehicle, according to Beck’s report.

Beck wrote that while he felt the initial round of shooting was warranted, a second volley by the officers was “out-of-policy” because it did not appear to him that the officers had enough reason to believe they faced “imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury.”

Before the initial shots, the officers described the damage done by the bottle as resembling that of gunshots.

Beck did not specify how the second use of lethal force fell short of policy, but the account given in his report says that just before they began shooting at Byrd again, one of the officers said Byrd appeared to be in the process of fleeing, while still facing them.

In one officer’s account, Byrd appeared to be turning towards him, so he began firing, while the other officer said Byrd seemed to be “attempting to point the gun at me and my partner again to shoot at us again.”

“At that time, I discharged my weapon again about six to eight rounds, at which point the suspect went down,” the officer said.

Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff cast the dissenting vote on the out-of-policy determination for one officer. The decision was unanimous for the other officer.

In a separate case, the police commission faulted the higher-ranked of the two officers who fatally shot 37-year-old Norma Angelica Guzman on Sept. 27, saying the officer acted out of department policy.

The determination diverges from Beck’s assessment that both officers, Samuel Briggs and Antonio McNeely, acted properly in using deadly force because they had enough reason to fear for their lives or that of a partner’s.

One officer had a rank of a “training officer,” while the other officer’s rank indicates he recently graduated from the academy.

It was unclear from the redacted version of Beck’s report if the more highly ranked officer was Briggs or McNeely, and LAPD media relations officials said they did not have permission to release information about the ranks of either of the officers.

Commissioners did not explain during Tuesday’s meeting how they reached their decisions, and why they disagreed with part of Beck’s determinations.

The shooting occurred near the barber shop at 2120 S. San Pedro St., just south of downtown Los Angeles, at about 9:30 a.m., according to Beck’s report.

Briggs and McNeely, who were from the Newton Division were responding to a report of a woman with a butcher knife standing in front of a barber shop, according to Beck’s report.

When the officers arrived on scene, they determined that Guzman fit the description. Guzman began advancing toward the officers, going from being 70 feet away from the officers to four feet away within 11 seconds, according to Beck’s report.

The report also said that body camera footage shows that despite repeated commands by one of the officers that Guzman drop the knife in her hand, she continued advancing towards the officers, getting as close as four feet away from one of them and yelling “shoot me!”

The officer closest to Guzman fired one round at her, while the second officer who was further away, seeing that Guzman had gotten close to his partner while holding a knife, fired two rounds at her “to stop the deadly threat,” according to Beck’s report.

The officers than called for an ambulance, but Guzman died later at the hospital.

An 8-inch serrated knife was recovered at the scene, according to police reports last year.

Details about recommendations by the Office of the Inspector General, which answers to the commission, were not immediately available Tuesday.

All four officers involved in the shooting cases are on full working duty, LAPD Officer Aareon Jefferson said.

It is up to Beck to take disciplinary steps, if any, against the officers who were determined as acting out of policy.


LAPD Commission Wants Closer Look at Handling of Racial Profiling Claims

September 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles Police Commission Tuesday requested a re-examination of the way the LAPD handles complaints of racial profiling by officers, with one member saying the existing efforts are inadequate.

“Community members aren’t convinced that we take bias seriously,” said Commissioner Cynthia McClain-Hill. “And I don’t really believe that anyone sitting in this room believes that our data captures the full extent of inappropriate or biased encounters.”

McClain-Hill called for a deeper look at the LAPD’s biased policing complaint procedures and the department’s efforts to train officers about bias, including the unconscious or “implicit” kind.

She noted that during the entire time the LAPD has been receiving and reviewing complaints of biased policing, “the number of sustained complaints, particularly with respect to racial bias, has been at or near zero.”

Critics of the police department have expressed incredulity that virtually every complaint made by the public about racial profiling by LAPD officers has been deemed unfounded, as has been indicated in the department’s periodic audits and reports on such complaints.

The commission adopted McClain-Hill’s motion, which calls for LAPD officials to report back on the issue on Nov. 1, at a meeting to be held in the community.

Her motion specifically requests that LAPD officials report on the biased policing complaint policies of other large cities, including Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Dallas and Baltimore.

She asked that officials find out how those municipalities define biased
policing or racial profiling, as well as data on the number of complaints and
the demographics of the cities and their respective departments.

McClai-Hill also asked for more details on how the LAPD tries to “identify any bias that a candidate may have” during the recruitment process, and how anti-bias training is provided to officers and what supervisors are doing to ensure that officers are not engaging in biased actions.

She also requested an update on how and when the department will roll out its planned implicit bias training.“My goal here is to get us beyond the limitations, which seem obvious, of relying on a single metric — that is to say just the numbers captured” in biased policing complaint reports presented periodically to the commission, McClain-Hill said.

She added that she hopes the report will “promote a real and meaningful dialogue that can serve as the basis for real and meaningful policymaking,” and does not want her motion to be interpreted as suggesting that she believes “members of this department at large are inherently biased, or show up to work for any reason other than to do the very best job they can (in) protecting this city.”

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