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Venice Residents Chant 'Murder' At LAPD Meeting For Fatal Shooting
More than 300 people attended a Venice town hall meeting on Thursday night and demanded answers from the LAPD about the recent fatal shooting of an unarmed homeless man.
Tensions mounted at the meeting held at the Westminster Elementary School auditorium as attendees chanted "Murder" and booed officials, the L.A. Times reports. LAPD officials called for the meeting two days after an officer shot and killed 29-year-old Brendon Glenn outside of a bar located near the busy corner of Pacific and Winward Avenues. Earlier this week, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said he reviewed surveillance video of the incident that took place and was "very concerned," noting that it didn't look like the shooting was justified.
The crowd demanded that the footage be released to the public, according to CBS Los Angeles. They expressed their sadness over Glenn's death, their frustration with the lack of resources available to help Venice's homeless, and called for police to be better trained to handle with people with mental illnesses.
When LAPD Inspector General Alex Bustamante said he would be conducting an independent investigation, the crowd shouted at him as well, KPCC reports. "We are here to listen," LAPD Deputy Chief Bea Girmala said in the meeting. "We are not here to be the talking heads and pontificate to you. We are here to listen."
Girmala added that they hadn't shown the video to the public yet because they didn't want to taint witness testimony. The name of the officer involved in the shooting hasn't been released yet either. When the crowd asked if the officer had been interviewed, officials said they probably hadn't yet, possibly because of a "physical impairment." Earlier this week police told CBS Los Angeles that they hadn't interviewed the officer yet because he was undergoing a medical treatment.
Absent from the gathering were top city leaders, and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Commissioner Mike Neely told the Times about how disconcerting it was that they weren't there. "Where is the mayor? Where is the chief of police?" Neely said. "I don't think they realize this person was someone people really cared about. He was connected to all the [homeless] services and he was struggling to improve his life."
The shooting occurred around 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday by the iconic Venice sign. Police said two officers responded to a call they received about a homeless man with a dog harassing people at a bar. When officers arrived they said they saw the man "physically struggling" with the bar's bouncer outside. After confronting Glenn, a struggle ensued between two officers and Glenn, and then gunshots were fired. Glenn would later die at the hospital.
Police reviewed a surveillance video captured from a nearby building of the shooting. Law enforcement sources told the Times that in the struggle, the officers were able to hold down Glenn. However, for some reason one of the officers stood up and walked away, and as that happened, Glenn also got up. Then Glenn wrestled again with the second officer. The first officer who was standing up then appeared to shoot Glenn twice just a few feet away, sources said. Sources said that the video doesn't show any physical action that would explain why the officer fired. The officers have not been identified, and they have been put on administrative leave.
Friends of Glenn's were also at the Venice meeting, and shared their stories of what they saw take place that tragic night and what Glenn was like when he was alive. Paris Edwards, 45, told KPCC that he was just standing 10 feet away from the shooting. He saw one of the officers ask Glenn for his identification and then shoot him in the chest while standing just a few feet away from Glenn.
While Edwards said Glenn had his problems and did drink alcohol, he was "one of the nicest guys I’ve met," Edwards said.
Another person at the meeting said, “That man that got shot was a good man; he was a good man, and he didn’t deserve that. And it was murder."
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