LAPD Accused Of Excessive Force, Conspiracy To Cover Up Misconduct In Shooting Death Of Trader Joe's Manager

Photos of Melyda Corado and family members are displayed during a September press conference. (Mary Plummer/LAist)

The family of Melyda Corado, the Trader Joe's manager fatally shot by an LAPD officer during a shootout with a fleeing suspect, filed damage claims Thursday against the department.

The complaint, filed on behalf of Corado's father and brother, accuses the Los Angeles Police Department of civil rights violations, excessive force, negligence, failure to properly train officers and conspiracy to cover-up misconduct.

The 27-year-old was killed in July, after police chased a shooting suspect, Gene Atkins, from Hollywood to Silver Lake, where he crashed his car into a pole outside the grocery store.

Three days after the shooting, the department released an edited video showing footage from the patrol car's dashboard camera, as well as the body-worn cameras of the two officers involved in the shooting.

The video shows officers exchanging gunfire with the suspect as he fled into the store. One round fired by officers hit Atkins in the arm. Another struck and killed Corado, who had walked to the front of the store after hearing the crash.

This still image captured from LAPD officer body camera footage shows an officer returning fire after an attempted murder and kidnapping suspect fired at him and his partner at the end of a pursuit in Silver Lake. (Image courtesy LAPD)

After a tense, three-hour standoff, with the armed suspect keeping customers and staff inside the store, Atkins peacefully surrendered to police. He faces dozens of felonies, including a murder charge for Corado's death.

In a press conference three days after the shooting, LAPD Chief Michel Moore called Corado's death a "tragic loss" and said the officers were faced with the "worst decision" they'd ever have to make under the most difficult circumstances.

"These are no-win situations," Moore said. "This is a heartbreaking reminder of the split-second decisions that officers must make every day."

Crowds gathered Sunday to pay their respects at the Trader Joe's in Silver Lake, where Melyda Corado was killed during a police shootout. (Brian Frank/LAist)

In early September, attorneys for Corado's family told LAist/KPCC that the department had initially offered to let them review the latest video ahead of its public release, but then reversed their decision.

"All of the videos should be released as opposed to video that's selected by the department, that's narrated by the department, that's edited by the department," family attorney John Taylor said at the time. Attorneys also questioned why toxicology reports were ordered for Corado.

You can watch the video released in September below. Warning: the video includes some graphic content and language that may be offensive to some.

READ THE CLAIMS

KPCC/LAist reporter Mary Plummer contributed to this report.


Hey, thanks. You read the entire story. And we love you for that. Here at LAist, our goal is to cover the stories that matter to you, not advertisers. We don't have paywalls, but we do have payments (aka bills). So if you love independent, local journalism, join us. Let's make the world a better place, together. Donate now.