In the latest update on the Venice Beach police shooting of a homeless man, the Los Angeles Police Chief has called for charges against the officer involved, Officer Clifford Proctor.
By way of background, in May of 2015 amidst the national discussion of police conduct, Officer Proctor shot Brendon Glenn, a homeless man who was not armed. Proctor had forced Glenn to the ground and, according to LAPD investigators, Proctor shot Glenn twice in the back when Glenn attempted to push himself up.
You can read the most recent Los Angeles Times story here: L.A. Police Chief Beck backs charges against officer who fatally shot Venice homeless man, L.A. Times, Kate Mather, January 11, 2016.
Officer Proctor initially reported that Glen was attempting to take Proctor’s weapon and that he fired in self-defense. However, based on a review of forensic evidence and eyewitness reports, the LAPD investigators determined that Glenn did not make a movement directly towards Proctor’s gun but was merely pushing himself up off of the ground. These findings are what prompted LAPD Chief Charlie Beck to recommend criminal charges.
If charges are filed, it will be the first time in 15 years that the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has filed charges against an officer for an on-duty shooting.
The District Attorney’s Office has not specified whether they will charger Proctor, but his conduct could fall under one of a number of homicide crimes under the California Penal Code. CA Penal Code section 187 defines murder as “the unlawful killing of a human being or a fetus with malice aforethought.” Malice includes acts where the offender intended to kill the victim, knew his actions would kill the victim, or acted with “conscious disregard for human life.” Proctor could also face charges for lesser homicide and non-homicide offenses.
LAPD Chief Beck does not have final authority over whether Proctor is prosecuted. District Attorney Jackie Lacey will make that decision. However, it does not bode well for Proctor that his chief has recommended charges.
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