LA police commission rules fatal shooting violated policy

December 16, 2020 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Police Commission ruled Tuesday that the first four shots fired by a police officer during a fatal incident in April were justified, while the last two were not and violated the department’s policy.

LAPD Officer Toni McBride shot and killed Daniel Hernandez, 38, on April 22 in South Los Angeles. Officers were responding to a multi-vehicle collision when Hernandez emerged from the wreck with a box cutter. Video shows that McBride repeatedly told Hernandez to drop the box cutter as he came toward her and then shot him six times in seconds.

McBride told investigators that she feared Hernandez would harm bystanders in the area. She had asked her partner about less-lethal weapons but opened fire before getting them.

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McBride’s punishment, if any, will be decided by Chief Michel Moore, the Los Angeles Times reported. Moore’s review of the shooting found that all six of McBride’s shots were justified. The chief told the police commission Tuesday that he had not made a decision yet.

The police commission rarely rules that an officer violated the department’s policy during a fatal shooting, the newspaper wrote, and it’s even more unusual for the board to disagree with the chief’s findings.

Hernandez’s family has called for McBride to be prosecuted for murder. A separate criminal investigation — typical procedure during police shootings — is underway by the state attorney general because former Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey recused herself from the case.

“Once on the ground my brother Danny did not pose any imminent threat to her or any other officers on scene,” Hernandez’s oldest sister Luz told the commission on Tuesday. “These shots cannot be justified given that he was immobilized, on the ground and no longer a threat. This was an unjustified murder and it should be prosecuted.”

McBride is the daughter of veteran LAPD officer and prominent police union director Jamie McBride. She has an online persona as a sharp-shooting influencer on social media, the Times reported.

She fired six times, each bullet striking Hernandez. Use-of-force experts are split on whether she should have continued to fire the last shots, which the coroner determined were fatal.