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Video: LAPD Fatally Shoots Stumbling, Mentally Ill Woman

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Norma Guzman with her son (Photo courtesy of Arnoldo Casillas)
The family of a woman fatally shot by LAPD just south of downtown Los Angeles last year released surveillance video today that captured the shooting.Norma Guzman, 37, was killed by police around 9:30 a.m. at San Pedro and 22nd Street on September 27, 2015. The video released has no sound, but it shows that a 9-1-1 call about someone acting erratically escalated into a deadly shooting very rapidly. The video itself is only 30 seconds long, and it takes just 10 seconds for police to exit their car and then shoot Guzman. Guzman falls back instantly. She died on the sidewalk and was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after.

The family has filed a federal suit against the city, alleging that the shooting was "a senseless and unwarranted act of police abuse." They are also calling on prosecutors to file charges against the officers.

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LAPD told the Los Angeles Times that Guzman was carrying a knife, and officers repeatedly ordered her to drop it as she moved toward them. They found a 8-inch knife at the scene.

However, the suit says Guzman didn't pose a threat to the officers, there was no one else in the vicinity, and she was walking slowly, "semi-stumbling" in a "non-threatening fashion." The suit claims that one of the officers ordered Guzman to approach and she was complying.

Guzman suffers from an unspecified mental illness, according to the suit, and she was "known in the community to be completely harmless." The suit charges that LAPD officers aren't properly trained to deal with the mentally ill, and that they often respond with "inappropriate and excessive force."

At a press conference, the family's attorney Arnoldo Casillas said that officers should have tried to use less lethal force before pulling out their guns, "Where's the Taser? Where's the pepper spray? Take a step back. Show some reverence for human life," he said. "There's no way that can be justified."