Saturday, January 14, 2023

LAPD facing likely suit over fatal shooting of man with knife undergoing mental crisis

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LOS ANGELES (KABC) — The family of a man who was shot and killed by LAPD officers last week is asking the Los Angeles County District Attorney to prosecute the officers involved and plans to sue the city and the police department.

Officials confronted Takar Smith in his estranged wife’s kitchen on January 2. A Smith family attorney said Takar’s wife, Shameka Smith, went to the LAPD’s Rampart Division earlier in the day and told them he had a mental illness and that she had a restraining order on him.

“She went to the police station and showed a video of her husband going through this mental crisis,” said Eric Valenzuela, the family attorney. “She was trying to prevent officers from simply arriving at her home aggressively and with guns blazing.”

However, no mental health experts have been contacted, as Police Commissioner Michel Moore even pointed out at a press conference earlier this week.

“At no point during this call was our mental assessment unit contacted for help or assistance,” Moore said Wednesday.

Smith’s shooting was just one of three deaths linked to LAPD responses over the past week. The Smith family is asking the city to pay for Takar’s funeral and plans to file a lawsuit.

Smith’s family members joined members of the Coalition for Community Control Over the Police at a news conference outside LAPD headquarters on Friday. This group condemns the LAPD for the murder of the father of six children.

“This is a pattern and practice of brutality and terrorism by law enforcement officers in all departments in Los Angeles and across the country,” said Cliff Smith (no relation to Takar Smith). “We specifically request that District Attorney Gascón prosecute these officers.”

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón says it will be some time before his office decides whether to press charges.

“We were allowed to review some of the body-worn footage and are now awaiting the results of the investigation from law enforcement,” Gascón said in a written statement. “Once we receive the investigation, we will review the case and conduct our own independent investigation and analysis of the available evidence.”

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