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Criminal Justice

LA DA Charges Former Deputy With Manslaughter In Ryan Twyman Shooting

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Screenshot of video released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department of the shooting of Ryan Twyman.
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A former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy involved in the fatal 2019 shooting of an unarmed man in his car has been charged with voluntary manslaughter and two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, District Attorney George Gascón announced Thursday.

Andrew Lyons, 37, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday, the DA’s office said in a statement.

“Protecting public safety is the highest responsibility for the entire law enforcement community. That extends first and foremost to those sworn to protect it,” Gascón said in the statement. “Policing is a difficult and trying job, but it does not excuse anyone from accountability under the law — especially when a human life is lost.”

The Background

The controversial shooting unfolded on June 6, 2019 when Lyons and deputy Christopher Muse approached 24-year-old Ryan Twyman as he sat in his car with another person in an apartment complex parking lot in Willowbrook.

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The Sheriff's Department said deputies had been looking for Twyman after a search of his residence uncovered weapons. He was on felony probation at the time of his death. The deputies had gotten a tip that Twyman might be in the parking lot, according to the department.

A video released by the Sheriff’s Department shows Muse opening the right rear door of the car, a Kia Forte. At that point, Twyman starts backing the car up, striking Muse with the open door.

Both deputies open fire as the car continues in reverse away from them, and Lyons retrieves a rifle from his patrol car and continues shooting. They fired a total of 34 rounds, killing Twyman. The passenger was unhurt.

“Lyons is accused of … shooting into the vehicle after it stopped moving,” the DA’s office said.

Brian Dunn, the Twyman family’s attorney, praised the DA’s office for bringing charges. “We are overwhelmingly overcome with pride and a reinvigorated sense of the ability of our justice system to seek justice,” he said.

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L.A. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in January that one deputy was fired and another suspended for 30 days for killing Twyman.

“That is accountability,” said the sheriff, who did not name the deputies or say when the discipline was imposed. At the time he also criticized Gascón's office for not having reached a determination yet on whether to file criminal charges against either of the deputies.

A $3.9M Settlement

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A memorial is set up at the site of Ryan Twyman's fatal shooting at the South Bay Villa apartments. (Emily Elena Dugdale/LAist)

Twyman's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county, which paid $3.9 million to settle the case in 2020.

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Law enforcement officers rarely face criminal charges in shootings.

Lyons is the third law enforcement officer charged by Gascón, who has promised closer scrutiny of police shootings. The DA had already filed charges against two other officers in his first year in office: one from Torrance for assault and a former Long Beach school safety officer for murder.

Sheriff’s Deputy Luke Liu was the only officer charged for shooting someone during former District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s eight years in office. He was acquitted last fall of voluntary manslaughter.

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