Sources: Video of LAPD shooting in Venice doesn't explain officer's actions

Video offers no explanation about why LAPD officer fatally shot homeless man in Venice, sources say

Security video of a deadly encounter between two LAPD officers and an unarmed homeless man in Venice shows a brief struggle between the officers and the man but does not explain why one officer stepped away and opened fire, law enforcement sources said.

The recording shows the officer standing up and moving away from the Tuesday night altercation, ultimately standing a few feet away from the man when he fired what appeared to be two shots, the sources said. 

The Times spoke to several people who have reviewed the footage, which has not been made public. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the recording publicly.

The sources said the recording showed the officers struggling with the man and successfully taking him to the ground. One source said it appeared the officers had control over him.

But then, the sources said, one of the officers stood up and began to move away. As he did that, they said, the man began to stand up and started struggling with the second officer.

For reasons that are unclear on the video, the sources said, the first officer then fires his weapon.

The sources noted there was no audio on the recording but said there was no visible physical action by the man that could explain why the officer shot him.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told reporters Wednesday that he had reviewed the recording and was "very concerned" about the shooting. He declined to elaborate about what was on the video but said he did not see "the supporting evidence that I normally would."

"Any time an unarmed person is shot by a Los Angeles police officer, it takes extraordinary circumstances to justify that," Beck said. "I have not seen those extraordinary circumstances."

Beck's remarks drew a strong reaction from the president of the union who represents rank-and-file officers, who criticized the comments as "completely irresponsible" considering the investigation was still in its "early stages."

"We encourage everyone to reserve judgment until the investigation has run its course, and the facts are collected and assessed," President Craig Lally said in a statement.

On Thursday, Beck told KTLA that his comments were based on what he had seen so far and should not be considered a conclusive opinion.

"I don't think I rendered a judgment,"  he said. "I think I gave some factual statements about the state of the investigation, being very specific that this is not a conclusion that I am drawing and I will wait for the entire investigation to be presented to me before there is a conclusion."

LAPD officials say the confrontation started after two officers went to Windward Avenue about 11:20 p.m. Tuesday because someone reported a homeless man with a dog "harassing customers" outside a building. The officers talked to the man briefly, the LAPD said. When he walked toward the Venice boardwalk, the officers returned to their patrol car.

Soon after, police said, the officers saw the man "physically struggling" with a bouncer outside a bar. The officers approached the man and tried to detain him, police said, leading to the "physical altercation" that ended with the shooting.

The two officers involved have been removed from the field. The shooting will be reviewed by the civilian Police Commission, its inspector general and the district attorney's office.

The L.A. County Coroner identified the man Thursday as Brendon K. Glenn, 29. Friends had previously identified him to The Times as Brandon Glenn. The New York native started staying in Venice just a few months ago, people who knew him said. They described him as a kind man who constantly told people he loved them and treated his black Lab mix, Dozer, like "his baby."

But they also acknowledged he frequently drank. A manager of a homeless center on Windward Avenue said Glenn had stopped by the center Tuesday evening and admitted he had been drinking since 11 a.m.

Glenn's friends acknowledged he would sometimes be vocal when he drank -- one mentioned "a little mean streak" -- but said they had never seen him be aggressive.

The LAPD planned a community meeting at 6 p.m. to discuss the shooting at Westminster Elementary School, 1010 Abbot Kinney Blvd., in Venice. LAPD commanders who oversee the department's Pacific Division are scheduled to attend, along with Police Commission President Steve Soboroff and Inspector General Alex Bustamante.

Follow @LAcrimes and @katemather for more LAPD news.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


12:07 p.m.: This post has been updated with the man's identification officially released by the county coroner's office.

This post was first published at 11:53 a.m.