The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to file a case against a Long Beach police officer for the shooting death of a man who was holding a knife inside an arcade, according to a document released Thursday.
Prosecutors found that Officer Vuong Nguyen “had an honest belief in the need for self-defense and defense of others when he used deadly force against Mharloun Saycon” at Looff’s Lite-A-Line in Long Beach on Dec. 14, 2015.
“We further find that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Nguyen’s decision to use deadly force was not objectively reasonable,” prosecutors concluded in their 25-page report on the shooting.
Police were sent to the arcade following a 9-1-1 call about an intoxicated man brandishing a knife, and officers found the 39-year-old Carson resident seated on a chair inside the business with a folding knife in his hands while about 15 to 20 customers were inside the arcade, according to the report.
Saycon made no attempts to comply when officers ordered him to drop the knife and get on his knees, with subsequent efforts to use less-lethal force, two Taser deployments and a baton strike proving ineffective, according to the report.
Prosecutors noted that an argument can be made based upon the statements of several witnesses that Saycon may have remained seated throughout the entire encounter and had not charged at the officers. But they noted in the report that he refused to comply with verbal commands, proved resistant to less-lethal means to disarm him, opened the knife from a closed position and subsequently tested positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine.
The city agreed to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Saycon’s family, according to the family’s attorney.
Meanwhile, prosecutors determined that Los Angeles police Officer Edward Agdeppa was justified in fatally shooting Albert Dorsey in the locker room of a 24-Hour Fitness gym in Hollywood on Oct. 29, 2018.
A report on the shooting concluded that the officer “acted lawfully in self-defense and in-defense of others” after a struggle in which Agdeppa sustained a concussion and a female officer was repeatedly punched in the face by the 30-year-old man.
“Under these tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving circumstances, Agdeppa’s decision to use deadly force was reasonable,” the report found.
Police were sent to the gym in connection with a report of a gym member verbally threatening employees and another gym member and refusing to leave, according to the report, which noted that Dorsey had allegedly knocked a security guard unconscious a week earlier after being told to leave the 24-Hour Fitness parking structure.
Prosecutors also concluded that five LAPD officers — Steven Beumer, Jose Pedroza, Jonathan Gan, John Seffel and Jessicah Gist — used reasonable force in connection with the in-custody December 2014 death of former U.S. Marine Michael Mears.
Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics had asked officers to restrain the 39-year-old man as he rolled around on the floor in broken glass in a hallway on Christmas Eve 2014, and officers used physical force to handcuff him as he continued to resist and to hobble him to prevent him from kicking, as he had done earlier, according to the report on Mears’ death. He died two days later.
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