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Report details incident of sheriff's deputy shooting at car

August 4, 2011 |  4:40 pm


This post has been corrected. Please see note at bottom for details.

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department watchdog released a report Thursday highlighting the misconduct of numerous deputies, including one deputy who shot at a motorist who bumped his car at a fast-food restaurant.

The deputy was inside a McDonald's when he heard his car alarm go off. When he went outside, he realized his car had been hit.

He and the other driver agreed to exchange information, but the other driver didn’t want to alert police, prompting the deputy to pull his gun out and tell the driver he was a cop.

The other driver, in disbelief that the man was actually a law enforcement officer, got back in his car and took off.

As the car pulled away, the deputy fired several rounds at the other driver’s car.

The man was not struck, but his car was.

When investigators arrived, the deputy claimed he’d reached into the car while the driver was trying to flee and was dragged 15 feet before he started firing.

The incident, however, was caught on tape, showing he wasn’t dragged. The deputy, a rookie then still on “probationary” status, was fired after he refused to cooperate with an investigation into the August 2010 incident in Stevenson Ranch, the details of which had previously not been released.

A Sheriff’s Department spokesman said a case was presented to prosecutors, who declined to file charges because of “insufficient evidence.” The Sheriff’s Department refused to release the former deputy’s name.

While off-duty at the time of the incident, the deputy was scheduled to work a shift soon after at a county jail facility.

For the record, 5:10 p.m., Aug. 4: An earlier version of this post and headline incorrectly stated that the deputy involved in the shooting was drunk. He was not.


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Photo: Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies. Credit: Los Angeles Times