LA Cop Shoots Homeless Woman Dead FWD

Tom Boland (
Sat, 22 May 1999 18:56:19 -0700 (PDT)

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An internal investigation occurs routinely after police shootings.
Routinely, such shootings are judged "justifiable homicide".

Do such internal investigations produce results you trust?
Why or why not?

If not, how can we best assure that police officers are held accountable
under the law when they use excessive force?

See below for a related article:
FWD  [California, USA] Los Angeles Times - Saturday, May 22, 1999


     By Rich Connell, Times Staff Writer

A homeless woman who allegedly threatened a Los Angeles police
officer with a screwdriver died Friday afternoon after the officer shot
her in the shoulder, detectives said.

The woman, about 50 years old, was not immediately identified. She was
pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center about half an hour after
the shooting at La Brea Avenue and 4th Street in the Hancock Park area.

Lt. Anthony Alba, an LAPD spokesman, said the incident began about
4:15 p.m., when two bicycle patrol officers--one male, the other
female--tried to stop the woman on the sidewalk.

Alba said the officers, neither of whom has been identified, wanted to
question the woman to see if the shopping cart she was pushing had been
stolen. According to Alba, the woman immediately began acting
aggressively, threatening to kill the officers. Alba said she kept
walking as an argument ensued, and during the dispute a motorist stopped
and attempted to convince the woman to comply with the officers'
instructions to come to a halt.

The woman continued to walk, and when the officers again attempted to
stop her, she began slashing at them with a screwdriver.

The male officer, ducking out of the way, lost his balance. Feeling
threatened, he fired one shot that struck the woman in the shoulder, Alba

Why the officers did not attempt to subdue the woman with batons or
pepper spray--both of which they carried--was not immediately clear.

Alba said the homeless woman was black, the male officer is Asian and
the female officer is of Asian and Latino ancestry.

Officers cordoned off several blocks shortly after the shooting. Their
investigation, which snarled Friday evening rush hour traffic in the
area, continued well into the night.

Several witnesses--one of them an off-duty woman officer who had a
"birds-eye view" of the incident, were taken to the LAPD's Wilshire
Division station for questioning, Alba said. He said none of the
witnesses contradicted the account given by the officer who fired the

One man, however, told a KNX radio reporter that the officer did not
fire until the woman turned away, no longer posing a threat. The man was
not identified and police said they had not been able to find him.


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