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Community Meeting Scheduled about Fatal Westlake Police Shooting
After two days of protests, the LAPD hopes to calm tensions by holding a meeting tonight to address Sunday's fatal police shooting that left a day laborer dead. Community members will be able to ask questions and hear speakers talk about incident, LAPD's Use of Force Policy and how it reviews use of force incidents.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck will be joined by Inspector General Nicole Bershon, other officers, Councilmember Ed Reyes and the General Consulars of Guatemala, Nicaragua and Mexico. The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. at the John Leichty Middle School (650 South Union Avenue).
Meanwhile, news has come out that "self-styled communists" help fueled last night's protest that took an ugly turn. "About a dozen people who appeared to be affiliated with the Revolutionary Community Party handed out literature about its beliefs and other cases of officer-involved shootings, and chanted messages over bullhorns about a communist revolution," reported the LA Times.
Also, the LAPD finally released a press release detailing their side of the story. It's below, in full:
LAPD Officer Involved in Shooting of Man Armed With Knife Los Angeles: A man who attempted to stab a woman and threaten others with a knife on the streets in West Lake Village shot and killed by a Los Angeles Police Department Officer.
On Sunday, September 5, 2010, around 1:00 p.m., Officers assigned to the Rampart Bicycle Unit, Officer Frank Hernandez, 13-years 5 months with the Department, Officer Steven Rodriguez, 5-years 3 months with the Department, and Officer Paris Pineda, 5-years 3 months with the Department, were flagged down by a person who informed them there was a man in the vicinity of 6th Street and Union Avenue armed with a knife threatening people. The officers continued westbound 6th Street on their bicycles to Union Avenue where they saw the suspect holding a knife in a threatening manner. The officers dismounted from their bicycles and approached the suspect. He was ordered several times in both English and Spanish to drop his knife. The suspect did not follow the officer’s orders and raised the knife over his head and lunged at Officer Hernandez who fired two shots. The suspect fell to the ground where he was taken into custody without further incident. The suspect’s knife was recovered at the scene. No officers were injured. Los Angeles Fire Department personnel responded and determined the suspect was deceased.
The suspect’s name has not yet been released because of ongoing efforts to notify next of kin who reside outside of the United States.
LAPD’s Force Investigation Division (FID) responded and are handling the officer involved shooting. Over the next several months, FID will complete an exhaustive investigation. A preliminary investigation has revealed that several people were threatened by the suspect with the knife just prior to the officers’ arrival. Although blood was found on the knife, investigators have not conclusively determined whether or not the man injured anyone with it during the incident.
The investigation will ultimately be reviewed by the Chief of Police, the Office of the Inspector General and Board of Police Commissioners for compliance with the Department’s use of force policy which states that officer’ use of force actions must be reasonably objective. Additionally the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division will conduct a comprehensive review of the facts of the Officer Involved Shooting.
If anyone has any information that would be helpful in this case please contact Force Investigation Division at (213) 486-5230.