Southeast Division Use of Force Pursuit Investigation

June 24, 2004


Los Angeles: Yesterday, June 23, 2004, at 5:17 a.m., Officers Michael O’Connor and John Hatfield on patrol in a marked black and white unit observed a white, Toyota Camry run a stop sign at Figueroa and Laconia. The officers followed the car and ran a computer check on the license plate. They followed the car onto the Northbound 110 freeway. The license plate came back to a stolen car. When they activated their lights and siren, the driver refused to stop and increased speed. At the 110 Freeway and Rosecrans the officers initiated a pursuit, calling for a back-up unit, a supervisor and LAPD helicopter or, "Air-Ship". For approximately twenty-eight minutes, the driver of the stolen car attempted to evade the officers.
In accordance with the revised LAPD pursuit policy, the "Air-Ship" assumed control of the ground units and coordinated the pursuit. At times the driver, later identified as Stanley Miller, of the stolen car, exited the freeway and continued through the streets. At times he reached high speeds made reckless turns. Because of the early morning hour, traffic was relatively light and the pursuit was allowed to continue under the direction of the "Air-Ship". Adjoining agencies such as the Gardena Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office were notified of the pursuit.
At approximately 5:50 a.m., Miller reached a dead end street in the city of Compton and ran along a fence line behind a row of houses. The officers chased him. Officer Watson reached him first and confronted him at gunpoint. As he attempted to take him into custody, he was joined by Officer Hale who assisted in trying to handcuff Mr. Miller. Officer John Hatfield, who had been in the unit that began the pursuit was the third officer to arrive. A few moments later they were joined by five additional officers. The event was observed by the LAPD Air-Ship and broadcast live by two television news helicopters that had followed the pursuit.
As a result of the force used by officers at the scene a Use of Force investigation was initiated in accordance with LAPD policy and the consent decree. Within a short time, the investigation was taken over by the Professional Standards Bureau/ Internal Affairs Group which is now conducting separate administrative and criminal investigations.
Immediately questions arose about the force used in the arrest of the suspect, particularly the use of a flashlight by one officer. We are conducting this investigation in cooperation with the Office of the Inspector General, the LA County District Attorney and the LA County Sheriff as well as the FBI.-
This news release was prepared by Media Relations Sections, at 213-485-3586.