Police Commission Finds LAPD Officers At Fault In Two Deadly Shootings
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Police Commission ruled that LAPD officers had violated deadly force rules in two separate deadly shootings last year, according to the L.A. Times. The five-member civilian panel tasked with police oversight was examining two controversial cases that happened just days apart.
In what KPCC called "a stinging rebuke," the commission found that three police officers had acted against department policy during the two incidents.
The panel ruled that both officers involved in the fatal shooting of James Joseph Byrd on October 3, 2015, were without justification. Officers Zackary Goldstein and Andrew Hacoupian had been stopped at a red light when their back windshield shattered, leading the officers to think they were being shot at. They exited the car and fired at Byrd, who, it was later discovered, had thrown a 40-ounce beer bottle at the windshield. He died at the scene. In November, an attorney representing the officers told the L.A. Times that the officers had seen "a video of a man flashing a gun behind an LAPD officer and had been warned that they might be ambushed from behind," leading them to believe that they were being ambushed when the incident happened. The video, which had been shown to the officers during a roll call meeting the day of the shooting, later turned out to be a promotional vehicle for a '90s rap group trying to make a comeback.
The commission also found fault with the actions of one of the two officers involved in the fatal shooting of Norma Guzman on September 27, 2015. Guzman, a mentally ill homeless woman, was shot after police responded to a 9-1-1 call about someone acting erratically. She was holding a knife, which the officers repeatedly told her to drop, and allegedly came towards the officers while brandishing it. According to KPCC, it is not yet known which of the two officers involved in the shooting was found found to be at fault.
Ultimately, any disciplinary measures for the officers in question will be have to be brought by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck after he evaluates the commission's findings.