Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief Charlie Beck has suffered a backlash from the Los Angeles police union by recommending charges against and officer in the May 5, 2015, shooting of an unarmed man in Venice.
The officer, Clifford Proctor, fatally shot and killed an unarmed man named Brendon Glenn in May 2015. At the time, with Black Lives Matter anti-police brutality protests at their height, Chief Beck issued a public statement suggesting that Proctor was guilty. “Any time an unarmed person is shot by a Los Angeles police officer, it takes extraordinary circumstances to justify that, and I have not seen those extraordinary circumstances at this point,” he said.
The police union, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, responded in a May 6, 2015 press release on behalf of its president, Craig Lally:
It is completely irresponsible for anyone, much less the Chief of Police, to render a judgment on an incident that is in the early stages of the investigation. As the final trier of fact in the use-of-force investigation and disciplinary process, the premature decision by the chief essentially renders the investigation process void. Additionally, by making his opinion public without having all of the facts, he influences the investigation for all parties involved, including his command officers and the public. As in the criminal justice system, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. We encourage everyone to reserve judgment until the investigation has run its course, and the facts are collected and assessed.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Beck said “LAPD investigators concluded Glenn was on his stomach, attempting to push himself off the ground, when Officer Clifford Proctor stepped back and fired twice, hitting the 29-year-old in the back.” Beck said investigators “[reviewed] video, witness accounts and other evidence, [they] determined Glenn was not trying to take either Proctor’s gun or his partner’s weapon at the time of the shooting.”
Beck said that Proctor’s partner does not understand why shots were fired either.
But Larry Hanna, Proctor’s attorney, told the Times that Beck is simply pursuing a “political decision.” Hanna said, “Proctor saw Glenn going for his partner’s gun–even if his partner may not have realized it.” Moreover, Hanna pointed out that while “a security camera captured the events leading up to the shooting…both of Glenn’s hands could not be seen for the entirety of the recording.”
Police union director James McBride LAPD officers have “lost any and all confidence in Beck’s ability to successfully lead this organization.” He told the Times that Beck’s recommendation of charges against Proctor is evidence of “political grandstanding.”
If charged, Proctor will be the first LAPD officer charged for “an on-duty shooting in 15 years,” the Times notes.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at email@example.com.