Los Angeles Police commissioners decided on Tuesday to not recommend charges for two LAPD officers who lost control of a patrol vehicle while shooting at a suspect, then allowing the vehicle to run him over.
Eric Rivera was carrying a toy gun last June in Wilmington when he was stopped, shot, and run over.
The five commissioners cited Chief Charlie Beck and unanimously voted that officers’ judgement was fair when deciding Rivera posed a “serious threat” to the officers’ safety. The LAPD has previously identified the officers as Arturo Urrutia and Daniel Ramirez, the LATimes said.
Officers were called to the scene responding to a 911 call about a man with a gun. In a redacted report by Beck, one officer recalls the incident and said after telling Rivera to drop the gun, he saw the determination in his eyes and “fired in the defense of my life.”
But a separate investigation conducted by the family, citing an eyewitness, found that officers probably jumped out of their patrol vehicle recklessly as they began shooting, and let the patrol unit run over Rivera as he attempted to flee. A lawyer for a family described the witness account, who heard Rivera. “Eric says casually, ‘Leave me alone.'”
* Watch the emotional moments after the police commissioners vote to not prosecute LAPD officers who shot Eric Rivera.
Tuesday’s hearing with the Los Angeles Police Commission erupted in cries when the vote was cast. Valeria Rivera, mother of Eric Rivera, screamed at the board, saying “I hope one of your babies gets taken away,” as seen in this ABC7 footage.
The officers’ body camera footage has not been released.
Just a couple of weeks before the decision, Valeria Rivera went to visit her son’s memorial site with her sons in Wilmington for Easter, and says her children were harassed by LAPD officers that detained them. She caught the incident on Facebook Live.
The police commissioners are appointed by the mayor. Current Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed all these commissioners between 2013 and 2016. They are: Steve Soboroff, Sandra Figueroa-Villa, Matthew Johnson, Shane Murphy Goldsmith, and Cynthia McClain-Hill.