Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has called for an officer to be criminally charged for shooting a man to death, saying the officer’s life was not in danger from the unarmed transient, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday.
The case follows a series of killings of unarmed black men by police that have put law enforcement agencies across the United States under scrutiny over their use of lethal force, especially against minorities.
The May 5, 2015, shooting of Brendon Glenn led to accusations against Los Angeles police by community members who said it was unjustified. Glenn was African-American, and so is Officer Clifford Proctor, the policeman who shot him, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Police have said the shooting came after two police officers responded to a report of a person harassing customers outside a restaurant in the beachside Venice neighborhood.
A short time later, they saw Glenn struggling with a person on the sidewalk and tried to detain him. A physical altercation ensued, and Proctor shot Glenn to death, police have said.
Chief Beck said days later he had not seen evidence to justify the shooting death of the unarmed man.
Following an internal investigation, it was found that Glenn, 29, was on his stomach and attempting to push himself up from the ground when Proctor stepped back and fired twice, striking him twice in the back, Beck told the Los Angeles Times.
Beck told the paper that last month he made his recommendation to Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey that criminal charges be filed against Proctor.
The chief, who was appointed to the position in 2009, told the newspaper it was the first time in his tenure he had recommended criminal charges against an officer for shooting a person to death.
Larry Hannah, an attorney for Proctor, could not immediately be reached. But he told the L.A. Times that Proctor saw Glenn make a move for his partner’s gun.
Video of the scene and eyewitness accounts do not support Proctor’s claim, Beck told the paper.
Representatives for Los Angeles police and the district attorney’s office declined to comment.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis, editing by G Crosse)