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LAPD Chief Charlie Beck vows to 'fast-track' probe into fatal police shooting of day laborer

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck vowed Tuesday to "fast-track" the investigation into the fatal shooting of a day laborer by a police officer near MacArthur Park.

Addressing the civilian board that oversees the LAPD, Beck said the inquiry would be completed "much sooner" than the eight months the department's Force Investigation Division typically requires to finish the several-hundred-page reports that follow such incidents.

Beck said he was uncertain when the report would be done.

The decision was an acknowledgment of the tense, highly charged atmosphere that erupted following the Sept. 5 killing of Manuel Jamines, a 37-year-old Guatemalan day laborer.

In the encounter, a trio of officers confronted Jamines on a street corner in the Westlake neighborhood after a passerby alerted the officers that Jamines was threatening people with a knife. The officers repeatedly ordered Jamines in English and Spanish to drop the knife.

Beck and other officials have said Jamines, who also used the names Manuel Ramirez and Gregorio Luis Perez, raised the knife over his head and moved toward Officer Frank Hernandez, a 13-year veteran. Hernandez fired at least twice, striking Jamines in the head.

For a few nights afterward, hundreds of people from the neighborhood, instigated by outside groups, took to the streets to protest the shooting. The rallies turned ugly, with people hurling bottles and other objects at the scores of cops who were called in to patrol the neighborhood, which has a large number of Central American immigrants and is considered one of the most densely populated in the country.

“This is an incident that has considerable interest in it from a lot of different perspectives," Beck said in an interview. "I felt it was important for the whole city, not just the department, that we get the facts out as soon as possible.”

He acknowledged that with more than two dozen people shot each year by LAPD officers, some critics may object to the idea of giving special attention to one investigation. But the strong reaction to the Jamines shooting required it to be prioritized, he said.

He also highlighted the department’s efforts to address the animosity felt by some in the Westlake neighborhood to the police, feelings that were laid bare by the shooting.

He told members of the Police Commission that, among other efforts, he plans to assemble leaders from the Central American immigrant communities to start a forum for periodic meetings.

Beck already meets with several forums for other ethnic and religious groups, an effort started by his predecessor, William Bratton.

-- Joel Rubin at LAPD headquarters

Click to visit The Times' interactive Homicide Report

Comments () | Archives (9)

Good, appease the masses...let's get this over with.

If a guy is coming with his knife over his head towards me I'm going to shoot him in the face or chest if i can I don't care if he's black, guatemalan or purple.

charge murderer Hernandez

Beck, you are a lap dog for LaRaza. Start being a cop first instead of a whimp.

more than 80 years ago i grew up in los angeles, matriculated through an excellent school system. returned to la after ww2, even tho accepted to major research colleges in the "east" . i had seen the world and came back to la, as did many ex-gi's from all over usa. why have i and many others who are able fled la and ca.? illegal aliens, unmanageable crime, our skyrocketing taxes. since i sold out in socal, 20+years ago, the area has become third world . i often visited my old friends , many unable to flee, because money, health, or family. they are captives within their homes. even their children are seeking employment elsewhere in the usa, to move the family. but the ca politicians continue failed policies. so the demise of ca!!!

I only wish that this is not another political scheme, and an innocent person's life will be ruined as part of this game. I feel sorry for the officers involved in this political game.

Pretty soon police officers will become like the doctors who provide defensive medical care as they are afraid of frivolous lawsuits and the suspension of their licenses. It's so sad. We are creating a generation that demands rights but wants no responsibilities.

This is a mess. Still some politicians are considering granting blanket amnesty to these ruffians. Disgusting the whole lot of them.

Did this man of the law, Beck, promise the same to the family of Jamiel Shaw or to the thousands of American citizens who have been brutalized, murdered, or raped at the hands of the illegal aliens this man and the corrupt mayor allow to roam around L.A. with impunity? At some point Americans will wake up and charge those we entrust to uphold and enforce our laws who are the same most guilty of violating our laws with charges of dereliction of duty, malfeasance, anarchy, and in many cases, treason.

This whole notion of "outside" instigators is a media spin instigated by the LAPD to distort the realitites of living in Westlake. These allegations of outsiders being responsible for last weeks animositities towards Rampart officers hasless to do with outsiders than with how the immigrant community is treated by zealous officers. This outside instigator spin is the same used by southern bigots during the civil rights struggles.. blame was placed outside instigators or communist infiltrators to explain away the racist protocols of Jim Crow. Those who know history and the practice of racist cops are not fooled by this propoganda issued by the LAPD and its media lap dogs.


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