LOS ANGELES (AP) — The mother of an unarmed man fatally shot in the back by a Los Angeles police officer last year sued the city and its police chief Tuesday, saying the death is emblematic of a culture of excessive force.
The lawsuits alleging wrongful death and unjustified force in the killing of Brendon Glenn, 29, were filed in state and federal courts by attorneys for Sheryn Camprone of Troy, New York.
The suits seek unspecified damages and name the officers involved in the May 5 confrontation in the Venice area of Los Angeles.
"Glenn was unarmed and not threatening anyone. The killing was completely unjustified," according to the lawsuits.
The lawsuits cite 21 fatal shootings by Los Angeles Police Department officers in 2015, saying Chief Charlie Beck has failed to adequately discipline his officers, "creating a culture of impunity within the LAPD that encourages such violence and incidents of unreasonable force against the public."
Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for the city attorney's office, said he could not comment on pending litigation. Capt. Andrew Neiman, a police spokesman, also declined to comment.
Beck has previously said such statistics can't be viewed in a vacuum. For instance, the 21 fatal officer-involved shootings in 2015 occurred in a year when there were more than 500,000 stops, 750,000 radio calls and more than 97,000 arrests.
Last month, Beck recommended that the officer who shot Glenn twice in the back be criminally charged. Prosecutors haven't decided whether to file charges.
Beck's recommendation came after investigators concluded that Glenn was on his stomach trying to push himself up when Officer Clifford Proctor shot him, and that Glenn wasn't trying to take a gun from Proctor or his partner.
It was the first time Beck has recommended charges against an officer who fatally shot someone while on duty. More than 100 such shootings have occurred since Beck became chief in late 2009.
The shooting came amid tensions nationwide over police killings of unarmed black men. One of Glenn's parents is black, as is Proctor.
Police said at the time of the shooting that Proctor and his partner were responding to a 911 call about a man arguing with a bar bouncer and hassling passers-by.
The officers spoke to Glenn, who began walking away but then came back and began struggling with someone on the sidewalk, according to a police news release. The officers were trying to detain Glenn when the shooting occurred.
The lawsuits assert that Glenn was leaving the area and hadn't committed a crime when officers confronted him, grabbed him without justification and gave no verbal commands or warning before he was shot.
The officer's attorney, Larry Hanna, contends the shooting was justified because Proctor thought Glenn was reaching for his partner's gun, and that surveillance video of the shooting does not show both of Glenn's hands.
The lawsuits also criticize the police department's refusal to release the video, saying "the city continues to hide from scrutiny."
Glenn was a father of one child and a New York native who had recently moved to Los Angeles. In a statement provided by attorneys for his family, Glenn's sister described her brother as a charismatic, avid outdoorsman and sports enthusiast who had a knack for fixing electronic devices.
"Growing up as children, I remember looking up to my older brother and thinking to myself that maybe one day I would be as cool as he was," Brittany Glenn said in a statement. "Now I look up to him as if he were an angel in the heavens watching over me."
Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaLeeAP. Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/amanda-lee-myers.