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LAPD shot handcuffed suspect, omits key details: L.A. Now Live

November 2, 2012 |  8:20 am

At first glance, the Los Angeles Police Department officer-involved shooting seemed fairly routine.

According to a department news release, officers found a suspect hiding under an SUV, pulled him out by his ankles and opened fire after seeing a metallic object in his hands, critically wounding him.

But one crucial piece of information was left out of the release: The suspect's hands were handcuffed behind his back at the time and he was lying on his stomach.

The Times' Joel Rubin will join L.A. Now Live at 9 a.m. to discuss the incident and how the LAPD informed the media and public about the shooting. On Thursday, Police Chief Charlie Beck acknowledged that omitting the information was a mistake.

"We should have included it," he said in an interview. "We got it wrong."

"This occurred not because we were trying to hide facts," Beck wrote in a letter to The Times. "It occurred because we were overzealous in protecting the purity of the criminal and administrative investigations. We went too far."

LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith said investigators are trying to understand the circumstances that led to an officer shooting a restrained and unarmed man. Their inquiry will focus, in part, on radio transmissions that are expected to show what the officers had been told about the situation before they confronted the suspect.

The incident marks the second time in recent months that the LAPD has withheld important and potentially unfavorable information from the public in cases involving serious use of force by officers.

In July, the department released an account of an incident in which a woman died after several officers forced her into the back seat of a police car. The news release in that case made no mention of the fact that a female officer was under investigation for berating the woman and stomping on her genitals during the encounter. Police officials confirmed those details after The Times inquired about the case.