In a ruling immediately led to violent protests in the city of Los Angeles, a US Police Commission declared the police officer who fatally shot a 30- year-old black woman in August 2015 acted within department policy.
The decision immediately sparked shouts of protest from the audience, which was packed with activists and some Black Lives Matter members calling for the officer to be disciplined or fired. Some in the crowd shouted “Shame on you” as board members adjourned their meeting and walked from the room, The Patch reported.
Outside the Police Administration Building, hundreds of angered activists chanted “Fire Charlie Beck! Remove Matt Johnson!” referring to the Los Angeles Police Department chief and the president of the Police Commission.
The commission, after meeting in closed session for more than an hour, announced that it found fault with some of the tactics used by officers in the Aug. 12, 2015, shooting of Redel Jones, but found that Officer Brett Ramirez’s shooting of the woman did not violate LAPD policy.
Ramirez has been with the department for about four years.
Jones was shot in the 4100 block of Marlton Avenue in the Crenshaw district after police responded to a call of a pharmacy robbery in the 3700 block of Santa Rosalia Drive.
Police said officers saw a woman matching the description of the suspect in an alley west of Marlton Avenue, and the shooting occurred when officers tried to detain her. Police said the woman was armed with a knife.
A woman named Courtyana Franklin told the paper, however, that she witnessed the shooting in the side-view mirror of her car, and she insisted Jones was running away from officers when she was shot, not advancing on them.
Jones’ husband, Marcus Vaughn, was among those attending commission meeting, telling the panel in an emotional statement, “You all stole her from me.” After the commission’s decision was announced, Vaughn was seen wiping away tears amid a crowd of supporters outside the headquarters building. Some protesters left the Police Administration Building and began gathering on the East steps of City Hall in an impromptu sit-in.
Tensions between police and the black community have been running high following two fatal shootings by police in the past week, of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. The tensions escalated into last week’s sniper shootings during a protest in Dallas, killing five police officers.
Garcetti and Beck, along with mayors and police chiefs from across the country, are scheduled to be in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss the issue of violence involving police.