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A car, a cop, a funeral, no criminal charges

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Early in the morning of February 6, Devin Brown, 13, and a friend, 14, stole a 1990 Toyota Camry and went driving around South LA when the LAPD began to follow the car, which they observed as driving erratically. The car didn't stop when the police turned on their lights, and a 3-minute chase ensued. The car ran a red light and drove up on the sidewalk; the passenger got out and ran, the driver tried to back up. A police offer shot into the car, killing Devin Brown in the driver's seat. Reports said he backed up toward the cops, but an LAPD reenactment showed the police officer was in fact standing next to the vehicle when he started shooting.

Today prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against the officer, citing lack of evidence for criminal wrongdoing. The matter remains under investigation by the LAPD.

We are torn. Devin Brown shouldn't have stolen a car. He shouldn't have been trying to drive at all, forget driving somebody's else car at 3am. And it can't be easy to be a cop in a high-crime area in the middle of the night. But should this end with a 13-year-old dead? Why on earth are we reading in the paper, 8 months later, that there will be no criminal charges? Should there really be no consequences beyond taking the officer in question off patrol duties? If the LAPD will mete out some punishment, what's taking them so long?