Los Angeles police panel finds officer justified in killing woman

LOS ANGELES A Los Angeles police oversight panel on Tuesday found an officer was justified last year in shooting dead an African-American woman who police said was holding a knife, a representative for the commission said.

The city’s police commission voted 3-0 in relation to the shooting of 29-year-old Redel Jones on Aug. 12, 2015, said agency spokeswoman Eva Vega. She said the commission did, however, criticize some of the police actions leading to Jones’ killing.

Hundreds of people protested against the finding, the Los Angeles Times reported. It was the latest demonstration against police killings of black people and followed the shooting deaths of five police officers at a Dallas protest last Thursday.

A report from the commission said officers, whose names were redacted from the document, saw Jones and believed she matched the description of a robbery suspect. When the officers caught up to her, she fled and pulled a knife, the report said.

After a short foot pursuit, Jones turned and moved back in their direction when one officer fired five shots from his handgun, the report said. Police handcuffed Jones and she was pronounced dead at the scene by responding fire department personnel.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU) said the ruling and subsequent protests served as evidence of the “long running lack of trust” between the Los Angeles Police Department and the city’s residents.

“While LAPD officials have repeatedly voiced their commitment to bridge the chasm that has long separated it from the communities it serves, it too often demands unconditional trust from the public rather than earning it through strong commitment to transparency and accountability,” ACLU spokeswoman Sandra Hernandez said in a statement.

(This version of the story was corrected to delete the extraneous words in paragraph five)

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Writing and additional reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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