Los Angeles' police chief recommended criminal charges against an officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed homeless man in Venice.
Brendon Glenn, 29, was shot and killed May 5 by LAPD Officer Clifford Proctor near the intersection of Windward and Pacific avenues. Days later, Chief Charlie Beck said he was "very concerned" after an initial review of the shooting, which prompted protests by community leaders calling on the DA to take action. Proctor, an eight-year veteran of the force, was put on paid administrative leave.
Beck's recommendation comes after investigators determined Glenn was not trying to take the officer's weapon outside the Townhouse bar in Venice.
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Glenn attempted to push himself off the ground when Proctor fired twice, hitting Glenn in the back, police said.
Cameron Gaten, a friend of Glenn, applauded the move.
"Finally we got cops doing what cops should do," he said. "Usually the cops have the upper hand over the citizens. It's like the cops work for everyone. It's just some homeless kid. No one cares about a homeless kid but its still a life."
Activist Najee Ali, of the National Action Network, echoed the sentiment.
"Chief Beck took a position that should be commended," he said. "We want the DA to have the same type of courage Chief Beck demonstrated."
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday that "nobody is above the law."
"It's my expectation when people break the law that they are held accountable, whether they have a badge or not," he said. "I look forward to (District Attorney) Jackie Lacey's review."
The president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents the rank-and-file-officers, said Beck should not have said anything and should leave the decision to the DA.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, promised an impartial investigation.
Police said two officers initially responded to a call about a person harassing people on Windward Avenue. They spoke briefly to the man, who walked away toward the boardwalk, police said.
The officers returned to their car but then saw the man struggling with someone on the sidewalk. The officers approached and a struggle ensued, ending with the shooting.
Glenn died at a hospital. He came to Los Angeles from New York and sought shelter and assistance at The Teen Project's Venice P.A.D. homeless center, according to a representative from the center.
Investigators reviewed surveillance video of the encounter.
Proctor's attorney told the Los Angeles Times that the officer saw Glenn attempting to grab his partner's gun. He said he believe the district attorney will decline charges against the officer, according to the Times report.
Beck's decision comes after he cleared two officers in the August 2014 fatal shooting of Ezell Ford. The city's police commission later disagreed, issuing a report that determined one of the officers violated the department's use of force policy.
That case is still under review by the district attorney's office.
Los Angeles County prosecutors have not charged a law enforcement officer for an on-duty shooting in 15 years. In October 2001, that LAPD officer, Ronald Orosco, was sentenced to five years in state prison for shooting an unarmed driver during a dispute over a traffic citation.
The driver was wounded in the June 2000 shooting in South Los Angeles. Orosco, charged with assault, accepted a plea deal and pleaded no contest.