Advertisement

Family of man killed by LAPD officer after South L.A. collision demands answers

Matthew Hernandez, 8, holds a sign with a picture of his uncle, Daniel Hernandez, who was fatally shot by an LAPD officer.
Matthew Hernandez, 8, holds a sign with a picture of his uncle Daniel Hernandez during a press conference Friday. Daniel was fatally shot April 22 by an LAPD officer.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The family of a man who was killed by a Los Angeles police officer in South Los Angeles is demanding an independent investigation, saying there was no justification for the deadly use of force.

Daniel Hernandez, 38, died April 22 after officers responded to a multi-car collision near San Pedro and 32nd streets in Historic South-Central.

Authorities said Hernandez emerged from the scene holding a box cutter. Officer Toni McBride, the daughter of veteran LAPD officer and prominent police union director Jamie McBride, shot at him six times, killing him. An investigation by the LAPD is pending.

Hernandez’s family said they learned about his death when it was streamed on Facebook and Instagram.

Advertisement

“Why did she kill him?” his older sister Marina Hernandez Vergara said during a Friday news conference outside the Hall of Justice in downtown L.A.

Hernandez’s parents, siblings and neighbors stood by wearing black masks that said “Justice for Danny” and held signs that read, “The LAPD union has to stop protecting killer cops like Jamie McBride’s daughter, Toni McBride.”

“Why didn’t she de-escalate the situation? Because the city of L.A. has given the LAPD a license to kill,” said Vergara.

“They cannot continue to investigate themselves,” she added and urged the City Council and the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office to “have the courage” to prosecute law enforcement.

Advertisement

A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Larry Hanna, an attorney for Toni McBride, has said she is saddened by Hernandez’s death. Hanna said McBride had to shoot to defend herself and many civilians on the scene, as Hernandez ignored repeated warnings to stop and drop his knife.

Hernandez’s family members have filed two federal lawsuits accusing the LAPD and McBride of excessive force and wrongful death, among other claims. The family has also expressed concern that the investigation won’t be fair because of Jamie McBride’s power within the department. The LAPD has rejected the claim.

Jamie McBride is an unrepentant backer of old-school policing. He loves former chief Daryl Gates. He says Black Lives Matter is the real problem. And he is the recent face of the LAPD union.

Advertisement

Friday’s event was organized by the Latino Coalition of Los Angeles to demand justice and cooperation from law enforcement after Hernandez and 18-year-old Andres Guardado were killed months apart.

The event came in the wake of weeks of demonstrations in Los Angeles and across the nation over police brutality and the killing in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd.

Guardado was killed June 18 by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy near an auto body shop in Gardena. The coalition called for the immediate release of Guardado’s autopsy report, which was placed on a “security hold” this week by Sheriff Alex Villanueva, and thorough, timely investigations into both killings.

Villanueva has declined to discuss the Guardado shooting, saying he would supply information when he could.

Advertisement

“We’re not gonna piecemeal it,” Villanueva said, adding that ongoing witness interviews prompted investigators to place the hold on the autopsy report. “If you’re still interviewing witnesses, you don’t release information that’s gonna prejudice the testimony of the witness.”

The call for an independent investigation into Hernandez’s death and the release of Guardado’s autopsy report were supported by Black Lives Matter L.A.

“Let me say to the families first: We are with you; we support you,” Black Lives Matter activist Greg Akili said at the news conference. “We want to create space, comfort and support and for you to know that you are not alone in this struggle.”

Times staff writer James Rainey contributed to this report.


Advertisement