City Council calls for transparency in probe of teen’s death

Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — Three Los Angeles City Council members have introduced a motion aimed at ensuring public transparency during the investigation into the killing of a 14-year-old girl who was struck by a stray bullet fired by Los Angeles police at an assault suspect inside a North Hollywood clothing store last month.

The motion — introduced by North Hollywood’s councilman, Paul Krekorian, as well as Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez and Councilman Kevin de León — requests two reports from the Los Angeles Police Department.

One report is on the status of the LAPD’s internal investigation and the department’s cooperation with two other investigations into the shooting.

The other will focus on the department’s practices to protect bystanders during use- of-force incidents, as well as practices and policies following reports of an active shooter, which the LAPD was responding to at the Burlington store, despite the suspect not being armed.

The motion also instructed the Chief Legislative Analyst to report on best practices by other police departments for reducing the use of lethal force and for protecting bystanders from risk when force is used.

The motion also seeks to have the LAPD immediately release any remaining recordings related to the shooting, including body camera footage, 911 calls and radio transmissions.

While police released body-worn camera footage of the shooting Jan. 3, attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the girl’s father, said that the family’s attorneys believe there is additional surveillance video from the Burlington store itself, which they are trying to access. Some surveillance video clips were already released by the LAPD.

“As the city grieves over this horrendous tragedy, it is imperative that the council and the public learn all of the facts about this incident and how the deaths at the Burlington store could have been avoided,” the motion stated.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said Jan. 6 that the city will “look comprehensively” at everything including training, tactics and policies in its investigation into the killing of Valentina Orellana-Peralta, who was struck by a stray bullet fired by Los Angeles police at an assault suspect inside the store in North Hollywood Dec. 23.

The LAPD’s Force Investigation Division and Inspector General’s Office are both investigating the shooting, along with the California Department of Justice’s California Police Shooting Investigation Team for Southern California. The state Department of Justice investigates officer shootings under provisions of a bill signed into law last year.

Once the investigation has been completed, the results will be turned over to the California Department of Justice’s Special Prosecutions Section within the Criminal Law Division for independent review.

LAPD Officer William Jones has been identified as the officer who shot Orellana-Peralta while confronting a suspect. He has been placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.

The officer’s union said that Jones had recently completed a course on how to handle an active shooter situation and was following his training. A coalition of civil rights groups has called for Jones to be arrested and prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter.

Police also fatally shot 24-year-old Daniel Elena Lopez — who did not have a gun — but a bullet fired by Jones pierced a wall and struck the teen as she dried on dresses with her mother in a dressing room.


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