Early in the morning of last week, a resident of a North Hollywood apartment complex heard a man struggling outside, peeked into his hallway and found a bloody knife. She called the police, thinking there had been a stabbing.
When two officers from the Los Angeles Police Department arrived on the morning of April 23, they found a bloodied man lying in the courtyard of the building with “a kitchen knife stuck in the front of his neck,” he said. said Chef Michel Moore. The man told police that he had stabbed himself.
“(The man) told police he was suicidal,” Moore said, reporting the shooting at Tuesday’s police board meeting. “He threatened to drive the knife deeper into her neck.”
The incident ended with one of the officers shooting the man twice. Despite the gunshot wound and gunshot wounds, the man was taken to hospital, underwent surgery and is expected to survive, Moore said.
It is not entirely clear what actually happened just before filming, however. The LAPD has yet to release body-worn camera footage captured during the incident.
It was also not clear from the chief’s comments how the man was holding the knife: whether he was brandishing it at officers or if he was still threatening himself with the weapon. Moore said the man “walked over to the officers, still carrying the knife.”
The chief said one of the officers had a less lethal 40mm launcher trained on the man and shot him as he got closer. Moore did not say if the bullet hit the man. He also did not say how much time had elapsed between the pitcher firing and the second officer firing his handgun.
The department’s Force Investigation Division has yet to release a statement on the shooting. Department spokesperson Officer Norma Eisenman said an FID press release was expected in a few days.
Department rules require filming footage to air 45 days after an incident. Eisenman said body-worn camera footage from that shoot would be released on June 7.
This was only the second police shooting in the Valley Division in 2021 so far. In the rest of the city, however, the LAPD fire rate has increased this year: officers fired their guns at someone 15 times this year, up from just eight times during the same period in 2020; and they killed six people this year, up from two in 2020.
Members of the police commission expressed concern about the increasing rate of shootings, but Moore said police were not yet sure exactly why the number of shootings was increasing. He estimated the ministry would release its annual use of force report early next month, and he said there would be an analysis of this year’s shooting to try to understand why the increase was happening.
Officials have not said whether the appeal to North Hollywood last Friday could have been handled by the new LAPD mental health units and the city is moving forward as a solution to stem future police shootings.
Workers are expected to intercede when a person shows signs of mental restraint. Officers will, however, continue to engage in incidents involving violent subjects.
Public speakers at Tuesday’s meeting called on the LAPD to stop getting involved in appeals where a person shows signs of needing mental health help.
“The gentleman was suicidal,” one said in the public comment period. “Why would you want to shoot someone? You are trained to be escalators, and yet you only use guns because that is the easiest solution.”
The chief said officers tried to defuse the situation. He said officers had spoken to the man “for a while”. They called other agents and a supervisor to help them.
And they got the 40mm. Although the launcher has become a focal point for departmental criticism of its use during last year’s George Floyd protests, Moore argued that the LAPD would continue to use it to incapacitate people from a distance, without resort to shooting them.
Yet there have been several police shootings in the San Fernando Valley where a 40mm was deployed and the subject has always been photographed.
In all of these cases, officers shot the person holding a knife with the pitcher, but resorted to their weapons when the person got too close.
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