Beck calls for charges against officer in Venice shooting

File photo.

For the first time, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has recommended to the district attorney that criminal charges be filed against an LAPD officer in the shooting of an unarmed suspect. This was the shooting in Venice last May of Brendon Glenn, a 29-year-old homeless black man. Glenn's death, caught on video, caused such an uproar in the Venice community that several senior LAPD officials went out to a community meeting in the aftermath. Beck said at the time that he was very concerned about the shooting, which occurred with Glenn laying on the ground and trying to rise. “Any time an unarmed person is shot by a Los Angeles police officer, it takes extraordinary circumstances to justify that,” Beck said then. “I have not seen those extraordinary circumstances.” Now comes his recommendation to the DA for charges against Officer Clifford Proctor.

From the LA Times story:

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....

Beck said he made his recommendation to Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey last month when the LAPD handed over its investigation to prosecutors. He said he has suggested that prosecutors file charges against officers in other cases but never for a fatal on-duty shooting.

It will be up to Lacey and her office to decide whether to bring a case against Proctor, and it's unclear when that decision will be made. Los Angeles County prosecutors have not charged a law enforcement officer for an on-duty shooting in 15 years.

Beck said the majority of shootings by officers are justified. But, he added, “in those much rarer cases where a shooting is not justified--and on top of that, not legal--I will also say that.”

Proctor's lawyer said the officer saw Glenn going for his partner's gun and that the video does not show a complete account of what was happening. Both Proctor and Glenn are black, so another way of looking at it is that Beck still has never recommended charges against a white officer for killing an unarmed black suspect.

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