LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11/ CNS) - A police officer was unjustified in fatally shooting an unarmed homeless man in Venice, the Los Angeles Police Commission ruled Tuesday.
The panel backed a determination by police Chief Charlie Beck that Officer Clifford Proctor acted outside department policy in using lethal force against 29-year-old Brendon Glenn.
In January, Beck announced he had recommended that Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey file charges against Proctor, calling the shooting a "criminal act.''
The May 5, 2015 shooting came amid a strident national conversation about police use of force, particularly against black men. Glenn was black, as is Proctor.
After reviewing video, witness accounts and other evidence, LAPD investigators determined Glenn was not trying to take either Proctor's gun or his partner's weapon.
Proctor's partner told investigators he did not know why the officer opened fire.
In his report to the commission, Beck found there was no evidence to independently show there was a "perception that a deadly threat was present.''
Based on surveillance footage from a nearby bar, "at no time during the incident can Glenn's hand be observed on or near any portion'' of one of the officer's holster, or that the officer was trying to push away Glenn's hand from the holster, according to Beck's report.
Lacey's office has yet to make a determination on whether it will file criminal charges against Proctor, according to District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Jane Robison.
Los Angeles County prosecutors have not charged a law enforcement officer for an on-duty shooting in 15 years.
Proctor's attorney, Larry Hanna, has defended his client's decision to shoot, telling the Los Angeles Times the officer saw Glenn going for his partner's gun -- even if his partner may not have realized it.
Although a security camera captured the events leading up to the shooting, Hanna said both of Glenn's hands could not be seen for the entirety of the recording.
Hanna accused LAPD brass of making a "political decision,'' saying the chief spoke too early about the case last year when he publicly questioned Proctor's actions just hours after the shooting.
But the attorney said he believes Lacey's office will "make the right decision'' and decline to file
charges against the officer.
Mayor Eric Garcetti has urged prosecutors to review the case "with the utmost gravity.''
"No one is above the law, and whenever use-of-force crosses the line, it is our obligation to make sure that principle is upheld,'' he said.
"Our officers perform heroic work every day, work that often goes unheralded. But accountability is fundamental to the trust that needs to exist between our officers and the people they serve -- and maintaining that trust is essential
to keeping our neighborhoods safe.''
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