A Los Angeles-based immigrants' rights group called on Tuesday for the Los Angeles police officer who fatally shot immigrant Manuel Jamines earlier this month to be prosecuted for alleged murder. The Southern California Immigration Coalition was scheduled to hold a news conference Tuesday afternoon to call for "Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley file murder charges against LAPD officer Frank Hernandez for the murder of Guatemalan migrant Manuel Jamines," according to a statement from the group.
The union that represents Los Angeles police was quick to respond with a statement of its own. Says Los Angeles Police Protective League president Paul M. Weber:
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"The call by self styled 'community organizations' for an LAPD officer to be charged with murder for shooting a drunk man who had threatened both innocent civilians and police officers is ludicrous. Credible witnesses, both civilian and police, have stated the man was armed with a knife; his behavior was so threatening that the police were asked to stop him. These activist groups can 'demand' whatever they want; fortunately decisions in our justice system are based on facts and evidence, not wild ranting by those with dubious motivations."
Jamines was killed Sept. 5 after police were flagged down by witnesses near West Sixth Street and South Union Avenue to complain that a drunk man was threatening people, including a pregnant woman, with a knife.
The 40-second confrontation ended quickly, with police saying Jamines raised his knife over his head in a threatening manner. But the shooting set off three nights of unrest in the immigrant neighborhood.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have backed the officer involved.