The union that represents Los Angeles police on Thursday stood up for Frank Hernandez, the officer who touched off three nights of raucous demonstrations in Westlake after he shot a man who authorities said was threatening people with a knife.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League was moved to respond after the Los Angeles Times reported that Hernandez, a 13-year veteran, has shot suspects in two other incidents -- officer-involved shootings that the department concluded were within policy. States LAPPL president Paul M. Weber:
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" ... We agree with Chief [Charlie] Beck that Officer Hernandez should not come under suspicion simply because of his involvement in previous incidents where he confronted armed suspects."
A union statement also found fault with critics who said that Hernandez could have at least shot the suspect, 37-year-old Guatemalan immigrant Manuel Jamines, in the leg instead of the head. The LAPPL found the notion "preposterous," the result of the influence of television and movie portrayals of police work.
It is unfortunate that our society has come to the place where a lawful command from an officer goes ignored. Oftentimes, this sets into motion a regrettable series of events, as in this case. As the League has maintained, when an armed individual refuses police orders to end the threat they are posing to the safety of officers and the public, they are subjecting themselves to the consequences of their actions, which may include being shot.