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DA declines to charge former LAPD officer in fatal shooting of homeless man on Venice boardwalk

Kate Mather and Cindy Chang, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES -- Prosecutors declined Thursday to criminally charge a former Los Angeles police officer in the fatal shooting of a man near the Venice boardwalk -- a decision that bucks an unprecedented call by Chief Charlie Beck to prosecute one of his own for a deadly, on-duty shooting.

The long-awaited decision by District Attorney Jackie Lacey's office comes almost three years after Officer Clifford Proctor -- who resigned from the Los Angeles Police Department in 2017 -- shot and killed Brendon Glenn, a New York native who was staying near the famed boardwalk.

"After an independent and thorough review of all the evidence in this case, we cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Proctor did not act within the law," Lacey said in a statement Thursday.

Based on the evidence, the statement continued, Proctor "may have reasonably believed that Glenn was reaching for his partner's weapon."

Neither Lacey nor other prosecutors considered Beck's comments in assessing whether Proctor's actions were criminal, the statement said.

Glenn's name became a local rallying cry in the ongoing criticism over how LAPD officers use force, particularly against African-Americans. Glenn was black, as is Proctor.

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Two years ago, Beck publicly said he believed Proctor should be criminally charged, marking the first time as chief he had suggested an officer be prosecuted in a fatal on-duty shooting. The silence from Lacey's office that followed was often referenced by activists and others who contend that prosecutors do little to hold officers accountable after questionable shootings.

The last time the Los Angeles County district attorney's office prosecuted a law enforcement officer in an on-duty shooting was in 2000.

Glenn was fatally shot May 5, 2015, as police tried to detain the 29-year-old after he fought with a bouncer outside a Windward Avenue bar. Proctor and his partner intervened, and a struggle began.

Proctor told investigators that he opened fire because he saw Glenn's hand on his partner's holster and thought Glenn was trying to grab the officer's gun, according to an LAPD report made public in 2016.


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