The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has declined to file charges in the officer-involved shooting deaths of two men, including one who was shot this year in a freeway standoff in Lost Hills and another who was killed by Torrance police officers after being seen in a stolen car.
Prosecutors determined that California Highway Patrol Officer Brian Green and Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy Noel Juarez “acted lawfully in self-defense and in defense of others” when they shot at Dimas Diaz Jr. after a one-hour standoff witnessed by many motorists on the southbound Ventura (101) Freeway when the 43-year-old Santa Barbara man crashed into a guardrail on the right shoulder after a high-speed pursuit Jan. 12.
Diaz refused to comply with demands to surrender during the standoff, according to a document on the shooting.
“There is compelling evidence in this case, including video, that Diaz was violent, under the influence of methamphetamine and marijuana, was intent on not going back to prison, made a statement that he would `come out shooting,’ and ultimately, armed himself with an object and charged at the officers,” according to the District Attorney’s memorandum on the shooting.
Diaz — a domestic violence suspect — was initially shot with a less-than-lethal round by another CHP officer, then was shot at by Green and Juarez after using his left hand to pick up from the pavement a black object with the general appearance of a knife, according to the document.
“When Diaz charged at Green and Juarez and the other officers while pointing a black object at them, it was reasonable for Green and Juarez, under these rapidly unfolding circumstances, to believe that Diaz was armed with a deadly weapon and to fire at Diaz in order to protect themselves and the lives of other officers and deputies and the motorists and public who were surrounding the area,” prosecutors found.
A black plastic object that appears to be part of an automobile console was located next to Diaz’s body, according to the document.
Prosecutors also found that Torrance police Officers Anthony Chavez and Matthew Concannon were justified in using deadly force last Dec. 9 against Christopher Deandre Mitchell after spotting the 23-year-old Los Angeles man sitting in the parking lot of a supermarket in a black Honda Civic that had been reported stolen.
“The evidence examined in this investigation shows that Mitchell was driving a stolen car. He was about to be detained for investigation of a possible grand theft auto,” according to the document from the District Attorney’s Office detailing the shooting. “As the responding officers approached, they observed what they reasonably perceived to be a firearm in Mitchell’s lap. Mitchell made movements toward the weapon … Although the weapon was later determined to be an air rifle, the officers’ belief that the weapon was a firearm was reasonable under the circumstances.”
Meanwhile, the District Attorney’s Office determined that Los Angeles Police Department Officers Osvaldo Zambrano, Amber Findley and Joseph Raviol “used reasonable force” while arresting Raymond Vance Hammond, who died following a March 29, 2017, struggle with the officers as they tried to arrest the 53-year-old Sunland man after he had been behaving erratically while walking with two long wooden sticks.
The officers’ decision to use a “hobble restraint device” was reasonable under the circumstances and did not cause Hammond’s death, which was attributed to a heart arrhythmia, according to a document on the investigation into Hammond’s death.
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