Family of Man Fatally Shot by LAPD Officer in Boyle Heights Releases Body Cam Video

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Attorneys for the family of Omar Gonzalez, the man shot and killed by a Los Angeles Police Department officer in July 2016, released police body cam video that captured the event.

Attorneys Luis Carrillo and Humberto Guizar played footage of the July 28, 2016 incident at a news conference Thursday.

Initially, the City of Los Angeles refused to release the video. The court granted a motion to release after the Gonzalez family filed a civil lawsuit.

Gonzalez was killed when gang officers attempted to stop a possible stolen vehicle in Boyle Heights and a short pursuit ensued. The driver of the vehicle eventually stopped in a cul-de-sac and a passenger, later identified as Gonzalez, ran into a home in the 1200 block of Atwood Street, police said.

Police said Gonzalez was armed with a loaded .25 caliber semiautomatic handgun when he was shot during a struggle with officers.

The officer who shot Gonzalez was later revealed to be Eden Medina, the same officer who fatally shot 14-year-old Jesse Romero less than two weeks later, resulting in a public outcry.

The teen’s shooting sparked rallies after the incident, and Romero’s mother filed a claim against the city and the LAPD.

Carrillo and Guizar said at Thursday's news conference that officers violated LAPD protocol, and failed to take appropriate actions with Medina after the first shooting.

"We also want to point out that this officer that this LAPD officer that killed our client, Omar Gonzalez, he was not given desk duty. He was not removed from patrol, and twelve days later he kills a 14-year-old teenager," Carrillo said at Thursday's news conference. "We fault the LAPD for keeping him on patrol when clearly, he should have been fired, or he should've been retrained, or he should've been given a medical leave so that he can sort out the issues of killing a man who at the time was not posing a threat to him."

One issue attorneys brought up was that LAPD said Gonzalez was armed with a handgun when he was shot.

"This evidence will show clearly that Omar Gonzalez did not have a gun when the officer shot him in the back," Guizar said. "I want to point out the importance of this, that whenever a gun is alleged to have been involved in a situation where someone is shot by a police officer, you want to, as a police investigation, find out exactly where it is, measure, and see if it is true that the person could have had the gun or been able to reach for a gun."

In the video, an officer is seen saying "Get the gun. It's right there." after Gonzalez has been shot.

"By tampering with it in this way, without a gun, in violation of LAPD protocol, clearly shows that they didn't want anyone to see that," Guizar said.

"Apparently, he had a gun, but not at the moment he was shot in the back," Carrillo added.

Another point in the video the lawyers noted was a point in which an officer they identify as Medina says to another officer, "Choke him out, dude" as Gonzalez has already been shot and is lying on the ground, moaning.

"To tell someone to choke someone when they're dying is just horrific," Guizar added.

"He was a great father. He was a great person," Gonzalez's ex-wife said.

"We want justice. We want answers," Carrillo said. "If the LAPD followed their training, instead of escalating this situation they de-escalated, we wouldn't have these tragedies."

On Friday, a LAPD spokesperson issued a statement to KTLA.

After a thorough investigation by our Force Investigation Division that was reviewed by the Office of the Inspector General, the Board of Police Commissioners found the officer's actions to be within policy.  Due to the pending litigation, the Department cannot comment any further.

Officer Medina is assigned to Olympic Division.

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