Officers in fatal Venice shooting wore privately owned body cameras

LAPD officers in fatal Venice shooting wore privately owned body cameras but recorded only the initial contact

The two Los Angeles police officers involved in last week’s deadly encounter with an unarmed homeless man in Venice were both wearing privately owned body cameras at the time of the shooting, the LAPD said Tuesday.

However, law enforcement sources said that although one of the cameras captured an initial encounter with the man, neither was on during the physical altercation that ended when one officer fatally shot Brendon Glenn.

The May 5 shooting was also captured by a security camera posted on a nearby building. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told reporters earlier Tuesday that the department had obtained “several pieces of video evidence” but did not elaborate.

Cmdr. Andrew Smith, a department spokesman, confirmed the officers were wearing “personally owned body cameras” but declined to detail what they captured.

“As Chief Beck mentioned, there are several sources of video evidence that the department has obtained regarding this shooting,” he said. “The department has obtained all the footage off of those body cameras. That is going to be included as part of the investigation.”

Los Angeles is slated  to  become the largest city in the nation to equip all its patrol officers with body cameras after the Los Angeles Police Commission approved rules for the devices last month. Mayor Eric Garcetti has said the city plans to buy 7,000 devices.

Also Tuesday, activists at the Police Commission meeting called for more accountability for officers involved in deadly encounters, including criminal charges against the officer who fatally shot Glenn.

The weekly commission meeting marked the first since the deadly encounter between the two LAPD officers and Glenn, 29, a New York native who friends said had only recently begun staying in Venice.

Activist Najee Ali urged department officials to quickly release a security video that captured the shooting, as well as the name of the officer who shot Glenn. He also pressed Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey to file criminal charges against that officer.

"That officer doesn't belong in the ranks of the LAPD," Ali said. "He belongs in jail."

One woman held her young daughter in her arms, saying that she was afraid the girl might someday be hurt by police.

"The violence has got to stop. We're losing our kids," Brandy Brown said. "Please stop this unnecessary killing, because I don't want to bury my daughter nor my nephews nor ...other kids."

Glenn's death comes amid a heated national conversation about police officers and their use of force, particularly against black men. Many people who have spoken outagainst the shooting have said they believe Glenn's race was a factor in his death.Glenn was black, as was the officer who shot him, the LAPD said.

The fatal shooting was captured by a security camera on a nearby building. Beck said last week that after reviewing the recording, he was "very concerned” about the incident.

Beck told reporters Tuesday that he had no plans to release the video, saying that it was a piece of evidence that "shouldn't be out there to taint the jury pool, nor should it be out there to taint witnesses."

"It's necessary that that piece of evidence, no matter how interesting it may be to the public or the media, maintain its stature as a piece of evidence," Beck said.

When asked if there was more than one recording of the incident, Beck said there were "several pieces of video evidence," but did not elaborate. He said he had also been in contact with Lacey regarding the shooting.

Police said the deadly encounter began about 11:20 p.m., when officers were called to Windward Avenue just off Venice's famed boardwalk. A caller had reported a homeless man — later identified as Glenn — who was "harassing customers" outside a building, LAPD officials said.

The two officers talked to Glenn briefly, the LAPD said. When he walked toward the boardwalk, the officers returned to their patrol car.

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

Two days after the shooting, the LAPD hosted a town hall meeting at a Venice elementary school that drew hundreds of residents. Dozens of attendees blasted police officials over the killing. But they also criticized the city over what they described as a lack of resources for the homeless and called for better training for LAPD officers who interact with the mentally ill.

Follow @katemather for more LAPD news.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

6:44 p.m.: This post was updated with information that the officers involved in the fatal shooting of a Venice homeless man were wearing body cameras.

This post was originally published at 4:49 p.m.

73°