The Los Angeles police commission found the officer who fatally shot an unarmed, mentally ill man while off-duty at a Costco in Corona in June 2019 violated LAPD policy.
The panel announced the unanimous decision Wednesday in the case of Kenneth French, who was killed by Officer Salvador Sanchez. Sanchez also shot and injured the 32-year-old man’s parents.
A grand jury declined to bring charges against him in September 2019.
The Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners referred its decision to LAPD Chief Michel Moore, who will determine what disciplinary action Sanchez will face.
“Regardless of the outcome of this next chapter, I express my profound regret for what occurred to the French family and loved ones,” Moore said in a written statement. “The decisions and actions of this officer cannot be justified and are inconsistent with the Department’s Core values, training and expectations of every member of this organization.”
The board made the ruling a week after members of the public directed angry comments toward Moore at an hourslong virtual L.A. police commission meeting.
The police oversight committee again opened its phone line before holding a closed session Wednesday and received furious remarks over the department’s use of force.
The much shorter public comment portion, again impeded by technical difficulties in which callers said others could not enter the Zoom call due to a password, lasted about one hour. Several minutes were spent discussing access to the meeting.
Board president Eileen Decker said there were only 27 people on the line to comment. That’s compared to hundreds last week.
Some called in and said there was a password on the Zoom meeting that the panel did not provide.
Decker said there was no password, and that her team could not figure out what was wrong. The panel’s Twitter account did have a post with a link to a Zoom meeting that appeared to have been deleted at some point.
“You guys are off the rails on accessibility and basic technical competence,” one caller told the panel.
Regarding the possible disciplinary action against Sanchez, one caller said: “I can’t believe this even needs to be discussed. Why is an off duty-officer unholstering their weapon in a privately owned business? Retail workers have more self-control than your officers.”
Callers who discussed police use of force and demanded Moore resign were asked to stay on topic by Decker.
“Yes, absolutely want to call for the resignation and firing of Chief Moore for his lack of accountability within his police department,” one caller said, before Decker asked her to only address “the issues on the agenda.”
“We spent a lot of time last week on that, we’ll spend a lot of time [on that] in the future,” Decker said.
Later, another caller said, “I just want to say that you’re cutting people off for ‘speaking off topic’ but Chief Moore’s behavior with Kenneth French is part of the same pattern of fire-worthy conduct that people are talking about with the events of the last week.”
Another caller echoed the point: “In my opinion, the fact that the city is only now discussing the firing of these individuals a year after the deadly incident goes back to the topic of accountability, which is why you disallowing comments on anything else is so f—— laughable.”
Last week, hundreds joined the virtual meeting as Moore listened to expletive-laden criticism after he remarked in a news conference that Floyd’s death is on the hands of looters. Moore apologized, but many insisted that he should be relieved of his duties.
Outside LAPD headquarters in downtown L.A. on Wednesday, Black Lives Matter activists held a rally demanding officers stop using rubber bullets and batons on protesters.
“They’re seriously hurting people, and we need to put a stop to this right now,” Chris Martin of Black Lives Matter said.