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Police Commission President John W. Mack's Comments On Rampart Use Of Force Incident
Today, Los Angeles Police Commission President John W. Mack stated the following:
Today, my fellow Police Commissioners and I completed the long and extremely difficult task of carefully reviewing and making a decision regarding the Categorical Use of Force incident which resulted in the death of Mr. Manuel Jaminez on September 5, 2010. This has been a particularly difficult and sad incident for all involved…Mr. Jaminez’s family, the involved officers, and for the community. The loss of any life is tragic and we deeply value the lives of all residents of our diverse city.
We want to thank the members of the Los Angeles Police Department who have conducted a very comprehensive investigation regarding this incident which was essentially put on a “fast track” by Chief Beck, leading us to where we are today. We also want to thank the members of the community for their deep interest and great concern, and their personal time devoted at community meetings and events regarding this incident. The involvement of Consul Generals and their staff members has been greatly appreciated during this difficult time. And, of course, we want to thank our Inspector General Nicole Bershon for her immediate and consistent oversight throughout the entire investigation.
At LAPD, Categorical Use of Force incidents are investigated by Force Investigation Division and Use of Force Division. Based upon the findings, the Chief of Police prepares his recommendations for the Police Commission. The Inspector General reviews the Chief’s recommendations and prepares an independent analysis with recommendations for the Police Commission. When my fellow Police Commissioners and I review and adjudicate each case, we receive the information from all sources within the LAPD and the Inspector General’s Office. It is an extensive investigation process which embodies civilian oversight throughout.
Through the Inspector General, the Police Commission releases abridged summaries of Categorical Use of Force incidents to the public. That report will be posted to LAPDOnline.org by close of business on Monday, March 21, 2011. Let me begin by providing a very brief overview of the events that led to this Categorical Use of Force incident.
On Sunday, September 5, 2010, at approximately 1:00 p.m., three officers assigned to the Rampart Bicycle Unit, were responding to a radio call regarding a disturbance at Wilshire Boulevard and Alavarado Street. While en route, they were then flagged down by a man who informed them there was a man in the vicinity of 6th Street and Union Avenue armed with a knife. The officers continued westbound on 6th Street on their bicycles to Union Avenue where they encountered a man with a knife threatening passers-by. The officers dismounted from their bicycles and approached the suspect. Mr. Jaminez was ordered several times in both English and Spanish to drop his knife. Mr. Jaminez did not follow the officers’ orders and raised the knife and moved toward one officer who fired two shots. Mr. Jaminez fell to the ground. A knife was recovered at the scene. Further details regarding the incident will be contained in the Inspector General’s abridged summary.
I am confident when I speak for my fellow Commissioners, that our review of this case has been exhaustive, conclusive and has left no stone unturned. Each of us made our decisions based on our best understanding and careful objective analysis of the preponderance of the evidence revealed, without prejudging the actions or motives of the officers.
As in all Categorical Use of Force cases, the Police Commission receives a recommendation from the Chief of Police in three categories: 1) tactics; 2) drawing of the weapon; and 3) the use of force. The Police Commission then reviews, evaluates, and determines the appropriateness of the three aspects of the incident.
The following findings are those that were recommended by Chief Beck and were adopted unanimously by the Police Commission.
As it relates to the tactics in this incident, the Police Commission found that the tactics employed by the three officers were in policy, with a tactical debriefing.
Drawing Of The Weapon
Relating to the drawing of the weapon, the Police Commission found that the drawing of the weapon by the three officers was in policy.
Use Of Force
Regarding the use of force, or firing of the weapon, the Police Commission found that the use of force by one officer was in policy.
My fellow Commissioners and I are deeply committed to the openness of the investigative process and accountability to the community, while still balancing the legal protections afforded peace officer personnel records and the release of information. Pursuant to California law, my fellow Commissioners and I, along with those who were present in closed session, are unable to divulge the details discussed during that meeting.
On behalf of my colleagues, again, I wish to thank the community as well as the members of the LAPD for their demonstrated concern, patience, and compassion during this difficult process.