Seconds before LAPD cops shot a mentally ill man, one of the cops realized he was not holding a gun.
“That’s not a gun, bro,” one of the cops said, according to body camera footage released last week.
“You said that’s not a gun?” asked Los Angeles police officer Daryl Glover Jr. as the two cops walked behind the man, ordering him to drop the object in his hands.
But seconds later, Los Angeles Police Sergeant Brett Hayhoe fired at the man through an open window from inside his car as he was driving alongside the man, a detail not reported by police until Streets Blog L.A. noticed a reflection the panel of the police vehicle showing the gun hanging out the window.
LAPD has since confirmed that the sergeant fired first from inside his car but it still hasn’t addressed the issue that departmental policy forbids officers from shooting from moving vehicles.
The sergeant’s gunshots prompted Glover to open fire as well, striking the man in the back, even though Glover had just been told by the other cop the man was not holding a gun.
The man, Jermaine Petit, was holding a latch actuator, which is part of a car door’s locking mechanism, according to the Los Angeles Times. The 39-year-old man survived the shooting but was charged with two counts of brandishing a replica firearm.
The incident took place on July 18 after police received a 911 call from a man who reported that Petit was holding a semi-automatic pistol. The body camera footage was released Thursday.
Despite the fact Petit was not holding a gun, LAPD told the media the evening of the shooting that he had been holding a weapon which was then reported on CBS. When pressed by Film the Police LA, a police spokesperson refused to specify what type of weapon was used as you can see in the video below.
MLK & Degnan, Leimert Park:
LAPD shot a Black man in the back three times. They refuse to say if he had a gun. pic.twitter.com/t8KunxaUM3
— Film The Police LA (@FilmThePoliceLA) July 19, 2022
The following day, Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore clarified to the media that the object was actually a car part but insisted that Petit had been pointing the object at cops, making them fear for their lives.
But the videos doesn’t show him pointing the object either.
In 2019, WUNC feature Petit in an article about veterans with serious mental health issues being paired up with police officers in an attempt to bridge the gap between cops and mentally ill veterans whom they frequently deal with in day-to-day situations.
The articles states that Petit joined the Air Force a few months after September 11, 2001 and worked as an EMT in Germany. His mother said he was diagnosed with PTSD and schizophrenia after he got out of the military, becoming paranoid and delusional. He has been arrested more than 20 times since returning home.
The policy on shooting from the vehicle states the following:
Shooting at or From Moving Vehicles. It is the policy of this Department that firearms shall not be discharged at a moving vehicle unless a person in the vehicle is immediately threatening the officer or another person with deadly force by means other than the vehicle. The moving vehicle itself shall not presumptively constitute a threat that justifies an officer’s use of deadly force. An officer threatened by an oncoming vehicle shall move out of its path instead of discharging a firearm at it or any of its occupants. Firearms shall not be discharged from a moving vehicle, except in exigent circumstances and consistent with this policy regarding the use of Deadly Force.
Note: It is understood that the policy regarding discharging a firearm at or from a moving vehicle may not cover every situation that may arise. In all situations, officers are expected to act with intelligence and exercise sound judgment, attending to the spirit of this policy. Any deviations from the provisions of this policy shall be examined rigorously on a case by case basis. The involved officer must be able to clearly articulate the reasons for the use of deadly force. Factors that may be considered include whether the officer’s life or the lives of others were in immediate peril and there was no reasonable or apparent means of escape.
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has not decided whether to prosecute Petit on the replica gun charges, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Watch the edited video below and the full video released by LAPD here.