More than a month after a Los Angeles police officer fatally shot a woman who police say was armed with a knife in a South L.A. alley, the LAPD has publicly identified the officer as a three-year department veteran.
Officer Brett Ramirez, who is assigned to the LAPD’s Southwest Division, shot Redel Jones on Aug. 12, the department said. Ramirez has returned to full duty since the shooting, a department spokesman said.
Residents and activists criticized the LAPD over the shooting and for not providing more information to the public. Last week, local activists affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement wrote to the civilian Police Commission, pressing for the name of the officer who shot Jones.
“We are demanding that you hold the police accountable and keep the public informed,” the letter said.
The California Supreme Court ruled last year that police departments must generally provide the names of officers involved in shootings, unless they can demonstrate there are credible threats to the officers’ safety.
Cmdr. Andrew Smith, a department spokesman, said Ramirez’s name was withheld so officials could conduct a “complete threat assessment.”
“As you see from some of the public rhetoric, we were concerned and wanted to ensure there were no credible threats,” Smith wrote in an email Monday.
Activists have also called for Jones’ autopsy report to be released. On Monday, a coroner’s spokesman said that officials were still waiting for the results of toxicology tests before determining Jones’ cause of death.
The investigation into the shooting is ongoing. As with all LAPD shootings, it will also be reviewed by the district attorney’s office, Police Commission and its independent inspector general.
Jones, 30, was killed after she moved toward an officer while holding a knife, according to an internal LAPD report reviewed by The Times. Police have said that she was suspected of robbing a nearby pharmacy while armed with the knife about 20 minutes before the shooting.
According to the report, officers were chasing Jones down an alley near Santo Tomas Drive and Marlton Avenue when they saw her pull out a large knife. The officers ordered Jones to drop the weapon, the report said, but she continued to run.
When Jones “suddenly stopped and turned toward the officers,” the report said, one officer used a Taser “which did not appear to have an effect.” Jones “began to advance toward one of the officers while still armed with the knife,” resulting in the shooting, the report said.
Money and a robbery demand note were found in her clothing, the document said, and the knife near her body.
A woman who said she watched the shooting from her car, which was parked in the alley, questioned why police shot Jones, saying that the woman was running from officers and never turned toward them.
“I do know for a fact that she was not charging them,” Courtyana Franklin, 21, told The Times after the shooting.
Gary Fullerton, an attorney who is representing Ramirez, said the officers had a right to defend themselves when confronted with a knife.
“People with knives are extremely dangerous. It’s not like a gun, where they can shoot you a block away, but they can get to you really quick,” he said. “I know the officers didn’t want to do this, but circumstances unfortunately unfolded -- and she was the one controlling the circumstances.”
Jones was one of 30 people shot by LAPD officers this year. Sixteen were killed.
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