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LAPD was wrong to omit shooting details, chief says

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Thursday that LAPD officials made an error when they chose to omit from a news release the fact that a suspect shot by officers was handcuffed at the time.

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

The mea culpa came after a Times report on the shooting and the department's decision not to include the information in the release.

When officers pulled the suspect out from under an SUV in South Los Angeles on Oct. 12, they saw what looked like a metallic object in his hands and opened fire, critically wounding him.

It was only after questions from The Times that LAPD officials acknowledged this week that the suspect had been previously been detained and handcuffed by other officers and then escaped their custody.

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

This was the second time in recent months that the LAPD has withheld important and potentially unfavorable information from the public in cases involving serious uses 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 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.


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-- Joel Rubin

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