LOS ANGELES (FOX 11 / CNS) - Prosecutors declined to file charges Thursday against a now-former Los Angeles police officer who fatally shot a homeless man steps away from the Venice Beach boardwalk, even though LAPD Chief Charlie Beck had recommended that the officer be prosecuted.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office concluded there is "insufficient evidence'' to prove Officer Clifford Proctor acted unlawfully when he shot Brendon Glenn on May 5, 2015. Glenn was unarmed, and his death sparked a series of protests.
Proctor said at the time he thought Glenn was reaching for his partner's gun, but in April 2016 the Los Angeles Police Commission ruled the shooting was unjustified. Beck had recommended that District Attorney Jackie Lacey file charges against Proctor, calling the shooting a "criminal act.''
LAPD investigators concluded that Glenn was on his stomach when Proctor stepped back and fired twice, hitting the 29-year-old man in the back. Beck also wrote in a report to the commission that there was no evidence to independently show there was a "perception that a deadly threat was present.''
Beck's stance caused a strain between himself and the police union, the Los Angeles Police Protective League. The union's Jaime McBride said Beck's comments on the case were "nothing short of political grandstanding.''
Los Angeles County prosecutors have not charged a law enforcement officer for an on-duty shooting in 16 years. Activists have held a series of protests in recent months calling on Lacey to prosecute officers for fatal shootings.
Melina Abdullah, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, reacted to the decision on Twitter, writing, "Jackie Lacey is complicit in murder. Refuses to prosecute police.''
Lacey said in the case of the Glenn shooting, "we cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Proctor did not act within the law.'' She said her office reviewed evidence in the case including officer body-camera footage, surveillance videos, statements from 10 civilian eyewitnesses, DNA analysis and the ``opinion of a nationally recognized use-of-force expert.''
The use-of-force expert concluded that "Proctor's actions as seen on the surveillance video were consistent with his having observed a threat posed by Glenn,'' according to an 83-page memorandum released by the District Attorney's Office on the investigation into the shooting.
Glenn -- who was "given multiple opportunities to leave the location'' and "chose to be confrontational and aggressive with civilians and the officers'' -- had 18 arrests, 12 convictions and seven pending cases, along with multiple bench warrants for failure to appear in court, and toxicological testing determined that his blood contained both alcohol and marijuana at the time of the death, according to the memorandum.
"A thorough review of the law and the evidence in this matter leads to the conclusion that there is insufficient evidence to prove that Proctor's use of deadly force in the altercation with Glenn on May 5, 2015, was not justified,'' according to the memorandum. The report noted that the District Attorney's Office is aware that Beck and the Police Commission determined that the officer's actions violated LAPD policy, but the "standard of proof used in administrative proceedings is not the standard of proof used in criminal trials.''
"A lower standard of proof is used to find actions outside of LAPD policy. Actions can therefore violate LAPD policy without constituting criminal conduct,'' according to the memorandum.
The city of Los Angeles paid $4 million to settle wrongful-death lawsuits filed by Glenn's relatives.