Originally published on May 9, 2015, at NationofChange.org
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck expressed sharp disapproval this week after reviewing a security video of two police officers killing an unarmed homeless man near Venice Beach. Although the homeless man appeared to be struggling with the officers in the video, Chief Beck could not justify their actions in taking the unarmed man’s life. Police have refused to release the footage due to recent social unrest.
Around 11:20 p.m. on Tuesday, two LAPD officers responded to a report of a homeless man with a dog harassing customers outside of a building in Venice, California. After briefly speaking with Brendon Glenn, the officers let him go and returned to their patrol car. According to police, Glenn began walking toward the Venice boardwalk with his dog, Dozer.
But a short while later, the officers reported witnessing Glenn physically struggling with a bouncer outside of a bar. They attempted to detain Glenn and engaged in a physical altercation with him. According to witnesses who have seen a security video of the incident, the officers fought with Glenn before successfully taking him to the ground. Just as the officers appeared to gain control over Glenn, one of them stood up and started walking away.
In the video, Glenn manages to stand up while allegedly struggling with the other officer. Witnesses assert that Glenn was not reaching for the officer’s firearm when the other cop shot him at least twice from a few feet away.
According to police officials, the officers performed CPR on Glenn before an ambulance transported him to a local hospital. Glenn was pronounced dead on Wednesday.
One of the officers sustained a knee injury during the incident. Both officers have been placed on administrative duty pending an investigation into the shooting.
“Any time an unarmed person is shot by a Los Angeles police officer, it takes extraordinary circumstances to justify that,” stated LAPD Chief Charlie Beck after watching the video. “I have not seen those extraordinary circumstances.”
In response to Chief Beck’s statement, the president of the police officers’ union sent out a press release. President Craig Lally of the Los Angeles Police Protective League wrote, “It is completely irresponsible for anyone, much less the Chief of Police, to render a judgment on an incident that is in the early stages of the investigation. As the final trier of fact in the use-of-force investigation and disciplinary process, the premature decision by the chief essentially renders the investigation process void.”
“I don’t think I rendered a judgment,” Chief Beck replied. “I think I gave some factual statements about the state of the investigation, being very specific that this is not a conclusion that I am drawing, and I will wait for the entire investigation to be presented to me before there is a conclusion.”
Due to recent social unrest in Baltimore and Ferguson, the LAPD refuse to release the names of the officers involved and the security footage that captured the incident. The LAPD came under heavy criticism in March after cellphone videos emerged of officers gunning down an unarmed homeless man on Skid Row named Charly “Africa” Leundeu Keunang. But unlike Keunang, Glenn has not been accused of reaching for an officer’s gun when he died.