The Los Angeles Police Commission found Tuesday that an officer who fatally shot a man who was carrying what appeared to be a fake gun acted within department policy.
The Los Angeles Police Department supervisor who fatally shot Victor Valencia, 31, on Jan. 11 about a block from a homeless encampment near the border between Los Angeles and Culver City mistook a bicycle part in his hand for a gun, according to police.
Police received a call around 12:40 p.m. that day about a “man with a gun” and a Pacific Division patrol field supervisor in the area, Sgt. Colin Langsdale, responded to the scene, police reported.
Langsdale located Valencia in the area of Venice Boulevard at Tuller Avenue and exited his patrol car, at which point he saw the suspect point what the sergeant believed to be a handgun at him, causing him to fire at the man, according to the LAPD. The department also reported that a witness said he believed the item in Valencia’s hand was a gun.
Valencia was treated at the scene and then taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
A photo released by the LAPD showed the part was a similar shape to a gun.
People who identified themselves as family members of Valencia told the Police Commission that the LAPD needs to adopt less lethal policies and that officers need more training before taking lethal action.
“Chief, I remember I spoke in front of you less than a month after my cousin was killed,” a woman who identified herself as a relative of Valencia’s said. “You know, the mental resources out there are like limited because people don’t care about us. Me myself, I struggle with depression and … I grew up with Victor, so it hurts me … he was our blood. Your employees … they need more training. They need to know how to deal with people with our state of minds. It’s not our fault we go through this mental state.”
As with all officer-involved shootings, the investigation by the LAPD’s Force Investigation Division was reviewed by Chief Michel Moore, the Board of Police Commissioners and the Office of the Inspector General to determine the thoroughness and accuracy of the investigation and whether the use of deadly force was in compliance with the LAPD’s policies and procedures.
Representatives from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office also reviewed the evidence collected and witness statements to determine if Langsdale violated any laws.
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