Unarmed Man Shot By Police Told Bystander He Had A Gun, According To Police Report
The Los Angeles Police Commission has ruled that the shooting of an unarmed man in Los Feliz last year was justified. According to an LAPD report submitted to the Police Commission, a caller told a 9-1-1 dispatcher that Walter William DeLeon "just walked by me and said, 'Call 9-1-1. Let them know I'm walking down the street, and I have a gun in my hand.'"According to the L.A. Times, the report also states that several witnesses told investigators they assumed that DeLeon was hiding a gun underneath the towel. "I saw him and my first thought was, 'This man has a gun and he's going to shoot someone,'" said one witness.
DeLeon's lawyer and family members dispute the police report. Attorney Mark Geragos told the Times he disputed the report that DeLeon told a witness to call 9-1-1, saying there was "no basis for that." He added that his office interviewed around two dozen witnesses whose accounts different from the LAPD's description of the events.
"That's not Walter," DeLeon's sister Yvonna told the Los Feliz Ledger. "It took them one year to come up with this?"
DeLeon was shot by LAPD officer Cairo Palacios after he flagged down a police cruiser on Los Feliz Boulevard. According to the police, officers wrongly believed he was armed—instead he had a towel wrapped around his arm and was holding a water bottle. DeLeon was shot in the head.
The bloody aftermath of the shooting was caught by passersby in a car on Los Feliz Boulevard. Warning: the video is graphic.
As a result of the shooting, DeLeon has lost a portion of his skull, a pound of brain matter, one eye, and a significant portion of his cognitive functions. After spending two weeks in a coma, he requires constant around-the-clock care. He has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the LAPD.