Los Angeles Police commissioners have ruled that the shooting of a man holding a towel last June did not violate LAPD policy. The victim, Walter DeLeon, astoundingly survived the shooting but was left with severe injuries. The shooting will be reviewed by LA County district attorney, and DeLeon's family has filed a lawsuit against the LAPD over the incident.
On June 19, 2015, DeLeon, 48, was walking on a sidewalk in the Los Feliz neighborhood. According to a report that was made public on Tuesday, DeLeon told a bystander that he had a gun. "Call 911. Let them know I’m walking down the street and I have a gun in my hand,” the report said.
Officers arrived as he was holding up a towel, and within seconds police fired their weapons, hitting DeLeon several times.
Warning: the video of the arrest, below, is extremely graphic:
Several officers and witnesses believed that DeLeon was holding a gun when police arrived. One witness said, “I saw the guy heading towards the police car with what looked like a gun under a towel."
“He’s standing like he’s actually aiming something,” another said. “And we both said to ourselves, ‘My gosh, what’s he aiming at? He must have a gun.'"
Officer Cairo Palacios ordered DeLeon to lower his weapon, and when he did not, Palacios fired three rounds into DeLeon. DeLeon and his family dispute the police account of the shooting, and are seeking damages. While DeLeon survived the shooting, he lost a portion of his skull and brain and will require medical care for the rest of his life.
DeLeon struggled to speak, but said he was glad to be able to be a voice for those who did not survive police shootings. “I am here for that purpose, to be heard and to bring change to the [police] department,” DeLeon said.
More than two decades after the LAPD attacked Rodney King, the department is looking into utilizing police body cameras to curb police violence in the City of Angels. Catch up on how that may help with BET News:
(Photo: Photography is Not a Crime via Youtube)