Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck is in hot water with police unions after commenting on the police shooting of an unarmed homeless man in Venice Tuesday evening. Beck said, “Any time an unarmed person is shot by a Los Angeles police officer, it takes extraordinary circumstances to justify that. I have not seen those extraordinary circumstances,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
KTTV FOX 11 reported that despite the fact that Beck admitted LAPD investigators had not yet interviewed the officer, Beck asserted, “I don’t know what was in the officer’s mind. We expect to know more tomorrow (Thursday). At this point, it appears that it was a physical altercation.”
Craig Lally, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, fired back that Beck’s remarks were “completely irresponsible.” He added:
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.
Lally concluded, “We encourage everyone to reserve judgment until the investigation has run its course, and the facts are collected and assessed.”
A community meeting in Venice scheduled for Thursday night will give the public a chance to confront LAPD police commanders about the shooting. The officer involved is black–a relevant fact given the racialized nature of the debate.