Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck is asking prosecutors to file charges against an LAPD officer who shot and killed a homeless man last May.
The cop, Clifford Proctor, claims the homeless man, Brandon Glenn, tried to take his gun and his partner’s gun, which is usually all it takes to justify a police shooting.
But Beck has viewed a surveillance video that does not show that.
Now it’s up to the Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey to determine if she will file charges against Proctor, an eight-year veteran of the force who has been on paid administrative leave since the May 5, 2015 shooting which took place outside a Venice Beach bar.
According to the Los Angeles Times:
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has recommended criminal charges against an officer who killed an unarmed homeless man in Venice, marking the first time as chief that Beck has called for charges in a fatal on-duty shooting.
LAPD investigators concluded that Brendon Glenn was on his stomach, attempting to push himself off the ground, when Officer Clifford Proctor stepped back and fired twice, hitting the 29-year-old in the back, Beck told The Times.
After reviewing video, witness accounts and other evidence, investigators determined Glenn was not trying to take either Proctor’s gun or his partner’s weapon at the time of the shooting, Beck said. Proctor’s partner also told investigators he did not know why the officer opened fire.
The May 5 shooting generated fierce criticism of the LAPD and came amid a heated national conversation about police officers and their use of force, particularly against African American men. Glenn was black, as is Proctor.
Video of the shooting has not been released but Proctor’s lawyers have seen it, saying it does not show Glenn’s hands. Nevertheless, attorney Larry Hanna said Glenn did try to grab the gun worn by Proctor’s partner, which is why his client had to shoot him dead.
But Hanna also said that Proctor’s partner did not realize Glenn was going for his gun.
Proctor’s attorney, Larry Hanna, defended his client’s decision to shoot, saying the officer saw Glenn going for his partner’s gun — even if his partner may not have realized it. Although a security camera captured the events leading up to the shooting, Hanna said, both of Glenn’s hands could not be seen for the entirety of the recording.
So if the video does not show Glenn going for the guns, and Proctor’s partner is not saying he was going for the guns, how does Hanna plan on defending his client?
Hanna accused LAPD brass of making a “political decision,” saying the chief spoke too early about the case last year when he publicly questioned Proctor’s actions just hours after the shooting. The chief’s recommendation to the district attorney, Hanna said, is “following suit.”
It’s true that within a day of the shooting after viewing the video, Beck told the media he was “very concerned” about the shooting, which was a huge indicator that this was an unjustified shooting.
After all, Beck, like most chiefs, are very quick to defend officers who kill. If anything, they tend to remain silent about the shootings, claiming they have not seen the existing videos.
But even if Beck had spoken too soon, there is nothing forcing him to publicly seek charges against the officer unless that video leaves no question the shooting was unjustified.
There is no reason the LAPD chief would tell the media that “Glenn was on his stomach, attempting to push himself off the ground, when Officer Clifford Proctor stepped back and fired twice, hitting the 29-year-old in the back” if it was not evident in the video we will eventually see.