AFRICANGLOBE – Attorneys for the city of Los Angeles have agreed to a $4-million payout to settle lawsuits filed by the family of an unarmed homeless man fatally shot last year by an LAPD officer in Venice, court records show.
The tentative deal comes as prosecutors weigh whether to charge the officer, Clifford Proctor, in connection with the May 5, 2015, killing of Brendon Glenn. In a highly unusual move, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck recommended that prosecutors file criminal charges in the case.
Attorneys representing Glenn’s family and the city reached the settlement this fall and notified the court about their agreement two weeks ago, according to documents filed in federal court. U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real dismissed the case a day later, citing the proposed settlement.
If approved by the City Council, the deal would settle lawsuits filed in both federal and state court on behalf of Glenn’s mother, Sheri Camprone, and 4-year-old son, Avery, according to attorney V. James DeSimone.
”This has impacted this family’s life each and every day,” DeSimone said of Glenn’s death. “It has really robbed them of a lot of the joy of living. There are reminders each and every day of how much they miss Brendon.”
Spokesmen for both the city attorney’s office and the LAPD declined to comment on the proposed settlement before the City Council weighs in. An attorney representing Proctor in the civil case did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
In dismissing the case two weeks ago, Real said the federal lawsuit could be reopened within 60 days if the settlement is not finalized.
DeSimone said Glenn’s family was hopeful that the district attorney would pursue charges against the officer but said they were surprised that a decision had not yet been announced. Beck went public with his recommendation in January, the first time as police chief that he has suggested criminal charges against an officer in a fatal on-duty shooting.
It is unclear why prosecutors have not yet made a decision. A spokesman for the district attorney’s office declined to comment because the case is still pending.
Proctor told investigators that he opened fire during an alleged struggle with Glenn because he saw the 29-year-old’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 earlier this year.
But video from a security camera at a nearby bar on the Venice boardwalk didn’t show Glenn’s hand “on or near any portion” of the holster, the report said. Proctor’s partner never made “any statements or actions” suggesting Glenn was trying to take the gun, the report added.
The Police Commission sided with the police chief in April, finding Proctor violated LAPD rules for using deadly force. The decision capped an 11-month review of Glenn’s death, one of several shootings by LAPD officers last year that fueled criticism of police and how officers use force, particularly against African Americans. Glenn was Black, as is Proctor.
The union that represents rank-and-file officers has blasted Beck’s handling of the case, saying the chief’s public support for charges overstepped his authority and was unfair to Proctor, a nearly nine-year veteran of the LAPD.
Proctor has been relieved of duty, without pay, pending a hearing before a disciplinary board, an LAPD spokeswoman said Friday. Officers sent to those hearings typically face serious punishment — lengthy suspensions or termination.
The events leading up to the deadly encounter began shortly before midnight, when Proctor and his partner went to Windward Avenue after someone complained that a homeless man was allegedly harassing customers outside a restaurant, police said.
The officers told investigators that Glenn was staggering and slurring his speech when they first approached, according to the LAPD report from Beck to police commissioners. He started to walk away, they said, so they decided not to arrest him.
Then Glenn headed toward the Townhouse bar, where he allegedly yelled at patrons, the officers said, according to the report. Glenn and a bouncer began pushing each other, so the officers walked over, planning to take Glenn into custody.
One officer grabbed Glenn’s arm and ordered him to turn around, but Glenn refused and tried to break free, the report said, citing the officer’s account. Glenn allegedly cursed, using a racial epithet. The officers then took him to the ground, the report said.
The bar’s security camera captured the confrontation. The video showed an officer grab Glenn by his hair, the report said.
“Everything was happening so fast,” Proctor told investigators. “Everybody’s hands were flailing around.”
At one point, Proctor said, he saw Glenn’s left hand on his partner’s holster, according to the report. Proctor fired a shot, but said he didn’t see Glenn react. The officer claim that he then had “a little tunnel vision” and pulled the trigger again.
“I don’t really know where his hands were, but he is still holding on,” Proctor told investigators. “I honestly believed that this guy was on something strong, like some kind of drug. And the first round did absolutely nothing to affect him.”
But the evidence, Beck said in his report, didn’t “independently support” Proctor’s claim. His partner told investigators that he never saw Glenn’s hand near his gun or “felt any jerking movements,” the report added.
The LAPD has not identified Proctor’s partner, but the lawsuits filed by Glenn’s family identified him as Jonathan Kawahara.
The department has not released the security camera video from the bar. And the business’ owner declined to show it to reporters.
By: Kate Mather