Thursday, December 2, 2021

Commission Rules LA police officer violated policy by shooting a suspect who allegedly used a stun gun on him

A Los Angeles police officer violated department policy by shooting a suspect who allegedly stunned him with his own stun gun in a South Los Angeles apartment building last year, the Civil Police Commission ruled.

The decision marked a rare reproach from an officer for opening fire in front of a face that officials believed was an immediate and deadly threat. However, officials discovered that the police officer had deviated so sharply from established police protocols on the eve of the shooting that the shooting itself was also unfounded.

The incident came after the suspect, 31-year-old Nicholas Hankins, allegedly threw a pistol into a van, resisted arrest, knocked an officer to the ground, and then escaped through Nickerson Gardens public housing estate along with a pursuing officer in November. – said the officials.

In its unanimous decision on Tuesday, the commission agreed with LAPD Chief Michel Moore’s finding that Officer Jacob Duxherer acted improperly when he fired one shot into the floor of an apartment building, as the suspect allegedly stunned him with his stun gun in the leg.

“I have determined that by making the wrong tactical decisions, Officer Duchsherer has placed himself unnecessarily at a tactical disadvantage,” Moore wrote in the commission’s report. “This tactical flaw unnecessarily exposed Officer Duccerer to Hankins’ aggressive behavior, culminating in the Duchcherer’s use of lethal force.”

The projectile fired by Duchsherer did not hit Hankins, who pleaded not guilty to assault with lethal weapons and resisted arrest charges during the clash. Hankins could not be reached for comment.

The incident began around 10:50 pm on November 20, 2020, when Duhsherer and his partner, Officer Min Yong Chung, members of the Southeast District Anti-Bandit Authority, noticed a group of men gathered around a car parked in the Nickerson Gardens parking lot. the police said.

Officers tasked with keeping an eye on the bounty hunter gang and enforcing regulations for the municipal housing community told investigators that they knew some of the men from previous arrests, knew they were gang members, and knew they did not live in the community … Chang also told investigators that he saw Hankins “throwing” towards a minivan in the parking lot as they pulled up and believed he might have hidden a firearm.

When the officers got out of the car, Chang told Duxherer to “grab” Hankins, and Duxherer did so by telling Hankins that he would explain why he was detained after he complied, as investigators found out.

Instead, Hankins pulled his hands back, resisting the arrest, and Duchsherer moved his hands to Hankins’ neck to establish a grip “similar to a wrestling technique commonly referred to as full nelson,” investigators found. Hankins continued to resist, and Duxherer’s body camera was knocked to the ground, where it continued to record how Hankins allegedly used a “foot sweep” to knock Duxherer off his feet before escaping, investigators said.

Chang initially stayed in the parking lot to keep an eye on a pistol that Hankins allegedly threw into a van he said he could see but couldn’t access, investigators said. However, after about a minute, he decided to follow Duhsherer, investigators said. Police said Chang’s body camera was also dislodged at some point during the incident and was never found.

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Police claimed that the second man pulled a pistol from the van after Chang left the area and threw it next to the trash cans before being detained by additional officers who arrived at the scene. The pistol was later discovered and the man was charged with possession of a firearm as a criminal.

As Duksherer chased Hankins through the complex, Hankins at one point lay prone on the ground, as if intending to surrender, Duksherer told investigators. However, he then stood up as Duksherer approached, the officer said. Believing that Hankins was about to try and fight him, Duhsherer said he fired his stun gun at Hankins from a few feet away, causing Hankins to run away again.

On the porch of a nearby unit, Duchsherer told investigators that Hankins appeared to have surrendered again, but then turned to face him. Investigators said Duhsherer activated his stun gun again, this time in “stun” mode on Hankins’ shoulder.

Then Hankins turned and entered the block, running past the two children inside. Investigators said Duchsherer followed him and grabbed Hankins’ shirt near the back door of the unit. Investigators said Ducherer followed Tasered Hankins for the third time before Hankins allegedly grabbed Ducherer’s Taser and activated it in drive-stun mode at the officer’s foot.

Duhsherer told investigators that he believed his entire body was about to “shut down,” and feared that Hankins might kill him if that happened. So he pulled out a pistol and fired at Hankins, letting him pass, investigators said.

Then Hankins ran out into the street. Investigators said Duchescherer followed him, still holding his pistol at the ready, and ordered Hankins down to the ground. Chang spotted them there and Hankins was taken into custody, investigators said. Hankins was later treated for a stun gun on his right torso.

In his account of the shooting, Moore criticized Duuccherer’s actions from the outset of the encounter, stating that the officer immediately “deviated from his predetermined cover officer role” when he and Chang approached the men in the parking lot.

Duucherer then attempted to arrest Hankins alone, ran after him alone, and “repeatedly failed to assess the risk that Hankins posed” to his safety as he chased him through the complex, Moore wrote.

When Hankins stopped at the front porch, Ducksherer rushed towards him “instead of creating distance and looking for cover,” and “even though Hankins had already overcome him,” Moore wrote.

Moore wrote that Duscherer never checked to see if Chang was with him, and rushed into the squad without support and not knowing who was inside, instead of first assessing the situation. During the pursuit, he never radioed his whereabouts or that he was stalking anyone, Moore wrote.

When “assessed in the light of a number of poor-quality tactical decisions” that led to the shooting, and “the connection between these decisions and the circumstances under which Officer Duchsherer was forced to shoot his weapon,” the shooting was “incompatible” with department policy. , Posted by Moore.

It is unclear what punishment Duscherer may receive for violating the shooting rules. The administrative discipline process for LAPD officers convicted of violating department policies is closed to the public.

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