No Charges for Cops Shown in Graphic Video Killing Hostage Held at Knifepoint
(WARNING: contains graphic content.)
Los Angeles police released graphic body cam video from a violent encounter between LAPD and a man armed with a metal chair and a knife on June 16 2018 in the Van Nuys neighborhood.
After being unable to fend off police, the man grabs an innocent bystander and holds a knife to her throat.
Three LAPD officers Eugene Damiano, Andrew Trock and Cristian Bonilla open fire on the man and the victim, killing them both.
Last week, on Tuesday, a civilian oversight panel determined two of the three officers violated department policy with their use of deadly force in the incident, although it's unclear which of the officers were found to have violated the rules that call for lethal force, according to the L.A. Times.
Initially, officers had fired less-lethal beanbag shotgun rounds at 32-year-old Guillermo Perez.
But that didn't work.
Perez blocked the bean back shots with the metal chair shortly before three officers fired a total of 18 rounds killing Perez and homeless woman Elizabeth Tollison, 49.
Tollison used a walker and may have been too frozen with fear to move away before Perez wraps his arm around her, pressing the knife against her throat.
Predictably, a unanimous decision by the five member Los Angeles Police Commission agreed with the conclusion of a report detailed by Chief Michael Moore, who said officers with similar training would have "reasonably believed" that Perez presented an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death.
Moore said one of the officers "did not have a viable sight picture" of Perez before firing, which caused an "extreme potential risk of injury to the hostage."
For the second officer found to have violated department policy, Moore said he "took into consideration the rapidly unfolding tactical situation" in which the officer made a "split-second decision under stressful circumstances."
Still, the officer should have withheld fire because the other officers had "already engaged with deadly force," Moore told the Times.
In hostage situations, LAPD officers have been historically trained to aim "a precise headshot" at the suspect, Moore said.
Moore, who will now decide what sort of disciplinary the officers will face, has issued a bulletin instructing officers to better organize themselves at scenes so they don't have too many guns unnecessarily pointed at suspects.
WARNING: the video above is extremely graphic.
A longer version, including a 911 call about a man with a knife, is included below.