Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has for the first time recommended criminal charges for an officer involved in a fatal shooting.
In May, Officer Clifford Proctor and another officer responded to the beachside town of Venice based on a call that a man was harassing customers at a business, police said. The officers spoke briefly with the man, later identified as 29-year-old Brendon Glenn, who then walked away toward the Venice boardwalk.
The officers then saw Glenn struggling with another person, and moved to detain him. According to the LAPD, a physical struggle with Glenn ensued, during which an officer-involved shooting. occurred.
Surveillance video and other evidence showed that Glenn was on his stomach at the time he was shot and not attempting to reach for officers' weapons, Beck told the Los Angeles Times. Glenn was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead due to the gunshot wounds in his back.
Proctor — later identified as the officer who fatally shot Glenn — remains employed with the LAPD, but he is not currently on patrol, a spokesperson for the department told BuzzFeed News.
The video has not been made public. And as of Monday, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey had not determined whether to charge Proctor.
"As the county's top prosecutor, it is my ethical obligation to remain impartial until a thorough and independent investigation is completed by my office," Lacey said in a statement. "Decisions on whether or not to file criminal charges will be based solely on the facts and the law — not on emotion, anger or external pressure."
It could be the first time in 15 years that an on-duty Los Angeles police officer faces charges for a shooting, KPCC reported. And an LAPD spokesperson confirmed it was the first such recommendation to come from Beck.
Also on Monday, Mayor Eric Garcetti said he hoped the police chief's recommendations would be considered with the "utmost gravity."
"No one is above the law, and whenever use-of-force crosses the line, it is our obligation to make sure that that principle is upheld," Garcetti said in a statement. "Our officers perform heroic work every day, work that often goes unheralded. But accountability is fundamental to the trust that needs to exist between our officers and the people they serve — and maintaining that trust is essential to keeping our neighborhoods safe."
The shooting immediately sparked controversy in Los Angeles. At a town hall in May, tempers flared. One eyewitness said Glenn appeared to be under the influence of something, but he had not been acting violently, Vice reported.
Beck also spoke publicly about his concerns regarding the shooting in the immediate aftermath.
"Any time an unarmed person is shot by a Los Angeles police officer, it takes extraordinary circumstances to justify that," he said in May, "and I have not seen those extraordinary circumstances at this point."
Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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