LAPD killing of autistic man was wrong, Police Commission rules

Police SWAT Armor & Rifleall credits: Los Angeles Times
5th March 2011

The civilian commission that oversees the Los Angeles Police Department has taken the rare step of rejecting a recommendation from the department’s chief, ruling that two police officers were wrong when they fatally shot an unarmed autistic man last year.

Police Chief Charlie Beck concluded after a lengthy internal investigation that the officers made serious tactical mistakes during the brief, late-night encounter, but ultimately were justified in using deadly force against Steven Eugene Washington, 27.

The shooting drew sharp criticism from Washington’s family, who said the man was autistic and fearful of strangers. Civil liberties groups questioned the shooting, suggesting that the officers may have overreacted because they had not observed Washington doing anything criminal.

“Police Commission overrules chief, says LAPD shooting was wrong”