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Key details in officer-involved-shooting withheld [Google+ hangout]

November 1, 2012 |  2:24 pm

Times reporter Joel Rubin will join city editor Shelby Grad at 3 p.m. for a Google+ hangout about key details that were withheld in a recent Los Angeles Police Department officer-involved shooting.

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

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

From Rubin's Thursday story:

In response to questions by The Times, LAPD officials acknowledged this week that before the suspect was shot, he had escaped the custody of other officers who had handcuffed him earlier.

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 had been told about the situation before they confronted the suspect.

The case marks the second time in as many months that the LAPD has withheld important and potentially unfavorable information from the public in cases involving serious uses of force by officers.

Last month, 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.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Wednesday that the news release on the shooting was not an attempt to distort the incident. Rather, he said, the information was withheld to preserve the integrity of the investigation and not taint potential witnesses.


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