While praising him for defending a controversial officer-involved shooting, the union that represents Los Angeles police over the weekend criticized Chief Charlie Beck for releasing the names of officers involved in the early September clash that set off three nights of unrest in the Westlake district last week.
” … We were taken aback and not at all pleased with the Chief's sudden decision to reveal the names of the three officers involved, specifically identifying the officer who used deadly force in defense of life,” the Los Angeles Police Protective League states on its site.
The Sept. 5 shooting of Manuel Jamines happened at West Sixth Street and South Union Avenue after police said the Guatemalan immigrant was drunk and threatening bystanders and cops with a knife.
A few witnesses stepped forward later to say the man was not armed, others said the officers did not address him in Spanish, and yet others have said the cops did not give the suspect enough time to comply with their orders.
However, the chief and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa stood up for the cops. The department released the names of the three involved in the confrontation but it did not reveal the name of the one officer who pulled the trigger — Frank Hernandez — until the Los Angeles Times published his name and revealed that he had been involved in two other shootings that were later deemed to be within department policy.
The LAPPL seems to argue that the department has put the officers involved in harm's way by revealing their identities. It is also concerned that the three were not warned that their names would be made public:
” … It was neither the time nor the place to disclose such sensitive information. Logic and sound policing principles should have carried the day, allowing time for calm to return to the neighborhood first. At the very least, the officers involved were entitled to know in advance that their names were being made public. Moreover, the Department should have performed a threat assessment of the risk to the officers and their families before disclosing such information to the public.”