I’m a police officer in South Texas. Thought I’d share some thoughts.. Thank you for what you do!
CNN: “LAPD shoots man on the ground”, “LAPD kills homeless man”. Huffington Post: “LAPD ‘CAUGHT’ on tape shooting homeless man to death”. LA Times: “LAPD fatally shoots homeless man”. HLN: “Video shows LA cops shooting homeless man”. Sounds like LAPD had a bad day. Sounds like they did some bad stuff. Looks like they need to string up some officers for excessive force.
Headlines look like these deranged maniac cops killed a helpless man on the streets who is just down on his luck. “There were 5 cops and one guy.. And they had to SHOOT HIM?!” Obviously they just saw a homeless guy on the ground and decided to open fire. Oh.. And then there’s those looney tunes over at FoxNews. Bunch of slanted, right wing, extremist racists, who only care about their selfish agenda. Their headline? “LAPD officers shoot homeless man in struggle over officer’s gun, officials say”. Wait..what? So the LAPD didn’t just kill that guy? That’s not sensational. That’s not really headline-y. That doesn’t bring the shock and awe. Hell, that doesn’t even make the cops look bad.
Satire aside, that poor man (and I mean poor in a figurative sense, not in a monetary way) lost his life. That poor man will never take another breath. He’ll never see another sunrise. He doesn’t get the chance to talk to Jesus and square things up before his time is up. His life is over. Done. In a senseless way, and without reason. It didn’t have to go down that way, he didn’t have to be shot, and he didn’t have to die. Those LAPD officers may get indicted, and if it wasn’t justified, I hope they do.
But if you can stomach the 3 minutes or so.. Go watch that video. Keep in mind they went to a reported robbery call (the news calls it SkidRow.. But that doesn’t matter- violence can, and does happen everywhere you go). And listen to the taser. And then listen to someone yell something to the affect of “he’s got my gun”, or “I lost my gun”. Then think about going to a call.. Where someone asked for you to be there. And then during the struggle you fear losing your weapon and being shot. Or worse, staying alive while your partner gets shot. Or, God forbid, errant rounds go into that crowd and wound or kill one of those innocent bystanders who are just enjoying the show. Cops are aholes a lot of times. And I’m sure there are some excessive force usin’, civil rights violatin’, crooked/sideways/upside down ones out there hellbent on destruction, greed, power, and violence. But.. Some aren’t. Cop or not, I ask you (rhetorically of course) what would you do?
I am a retired detective in Oregon and would like to respond to the many negative, poorly worded and even menacing posts regarding LAPD and their most recent OIS (officer involved shooting.)
First, thank you to each and every law enforcement officer working America’s streets at night whose mere presence can keep people from doing bad things. You deserve more praise than you’ll ever receive.
My point regarding this shooting is not to defend the involved officers or their actions. I wasn’t present and I’m not about to comment about their use of force, justified or not. As a detective I have put together cases on everything from the lowest level thefts up to and including death penalty carrying homicides.
My point is this: thousands of people around the globe have been reacting emotionally to the poorly shot PORTION of video that does not clearly show anything of evidentiary value to me as a homicide investigator. You can hear some important statements being made by involved officers, however our view of what really happened is obscured and easily misinterpreted. The man recording the video has an extreme emotional response, further exasperating and angering untrained viewers. This video alone is not enough to say whether or not the shooter was justified. The complete investigation will include statements from eyewitnesses, involved officers, physical evidence, post-mortem exam results, crime scene photogrphs, video, sketches, measurements and other forensically gathered items for consideration.
People are ignoring the fact that the investigation is incomplete. The LAPD sent out a well written press release explaining the remaining investigative process, which includes an internal investigation, a review by a civilian board of trusted community members, and consideration by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. After that, this case may or may not be sent to a grand jury for review and consideration of criminal behavior on the part of the involved officer. This is an extremely thorough and exhaustive process that takes weeks and even months to complete.
I have seen very few people posting anything about the investigative process itself, and instead emotional responses appear to be the rule for the day.
I am sorry a man died. I am also sorry a police officer felt it necessary to shoot him. Not much positive comes from officer involved shootings and many people are always scarred by such incidents. As a seasoned investigator I ask that citizens let the process take place before condemning and judging those involved. Again, the review process is thorough as is the investigation itself. If you weren’t there and were not involved, you are simply not privy to the extreme detail detectives on the case are.
Thank you LAPD. Stay safe and keep up the dedication to serving your community. I for one understand and appreciate each and every hard working officer and detective in America.