PROTEST LAPD shooting of homeless woman: Parker Center, Thurs 25

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Mon, 24 May 1999 20:50:26 -0700 (PDT)


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DEMONSTRATE in front of the LAPD's Parker Center headquarters Thursday
Call for an independent investigation.
-- Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a community activist and talk show host
-- Najee Ali, director of Project Islamic Hope

Does anyone know the *time* of day for this demo or have other *info* to
send HPN & others?

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/1999/05/24/state1801ED
T0051.DTL&type=printable
FWD  Associated Press - May 24, 1999

ACTIVISTS SEEK INVESTIGATION IN POLICE DEATH OF HOMELESS WOMAN

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Community activists want an outside inquiry into the
police shooting of a homeless woman holding a screwdriver.

Margaret Laverne Mitchell, 54, whose last known address was Long Beach, was
pushing a shopping cart Friday on La Brea Avenue when bicycle detail
officers Edward Larrigan, 27, and Kathy Clark, 29, approached her to ask if
the cart was stolen.

She died of a bullet wound to the chest, coroner's office spokesman Scott
Carrier said.

Ms. Mitchell was shot after threatening an officer with a foot-long
screwdriver, police Cmdr. David Kalish said Monday.

``The suspect pulled out a screwdriver over a foot long and threatened to
kill the officers,'' Kalish said. The officers were distracted by a third
party and the homeless woman ran with the officers in pursuit.

``She turned and started to attack Larrigan with the screwdriver. To avoid
being stabbed, he backed up and stumbled. She continued the assault and he
fired one round in self-defense,'' Kalish said.

The officers and the woman never came into physical contact, but they were
``quite close'' when the officer fired, the commander said.

``This is a tragedy that will be thoroughly investigated and reviewed by
the department and the Police Commission,'' Kalish said.

``It's very, very important that the police not investigate themselves,''
said Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a community activist and talk show host.
``Nobody should have lost their life. No major crime was committed.''

He was joined in the appeal by Najee Ali, director of Project Islamic Hope.

``We are outraged that a homeless woman, the weakest person in society,
would be shot down and murdered in cold blood by the Los Angeles Police
Department,'' Ali said.

In a letter faxed Monday to police Chief Bernard Parks, civil rights
attorney Leo James Terrell also asked for an expanded investigation into
the death of Ms. Mitchell.

END FORWARD (1 of 2)

http://www.latimes.com/HOME/NEWS/STATE/t000046571.html
FWD  [California, USA] Los Angeles Times - Monday, May 24, 1999

VIOLENCE:

HOMELESS WOMAN'S DEATH PROMPTS ACTIVISTS
TO CALL FOR OURSIDE INVESTIGATION
OF WHETHER OFFICERS USED EXCESSIVE FORCE

By Jeffrey L. Rabin, Times Staff Writer

Community activists Sunday demanded investigations by the Los
Angeles Police Commission and the U.S. Justice Department into whether
excessive force was used by LAPD officers in the shooting death of a
homeless woman Friday on La Brea Avenue.

The victim, who remained unidentified, was shot after police said she
threatened officers with a screwdriver when they approached her to ask if
the shopping cart she was pushing had been stolen.

Standing in front of a makeshift memorial of flowers, candles and
incense at the site where the woman was killed, a few activists called
for a probe of the shooting independent of the one being conducted by the
LAPD. "It's very, very important that the police not investigate
themselves," said Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a talk show host.

An independent investigation also should examine the LAPD's training
procedures and guidelines for use of deadly force in non-felony stops of
citizens, Hutchinson said. "Nobody should have lost their life" in the
incident because only a shopping cart was involved, he said. "No major
crime was committed."

And he said a new panel, patterned after the Christopher Commission,
which examined police conduct after the Rodney King beating, should be
appointed by the mayor and City Council to investigate allegations that
the LAPD and other police agencies engage in racial profiling of
citizens.

He was joined in the appeal by Najee Ali, director of Project Islamic
Hope, which plans a demonstration in front of the LAPD's Parker Center
headquarters Thursday. "We are outraged that a homeless woman, the
weakest person in society, would be shot down and murdered in cold blood
by the Los Angeles Police Department," he said.

"Something is wrong in America when a shopping cart has more value
than someone's life," said Melvin Farmer, an activist with a coalition
opposed to California's tough three-strikes sentencing law.

An LAPD spokesman said the department had no comment. And the county
coroner's office declined to release the victim's name until relatives
are notified.

In a report obtained by The Times this month the U.S. Commission on
Civil Rights has recommended to the president and Congress that a special
prosecutor be created to pursue allegations that local law enforcement
officers have engaged in abuse of citizens in Los Angeles.

The commission voiced concern that the district attorney's office has
failed to prosecute police misconduct cases.

END FORWARD (2 of 2)

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