Inglewood Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks spoke publicly yesterday about the killing of an unarmed man by two of her officers early Sunday morning. KPCC's Frank Stoltze reports the chief also tried to explain what happened.
Frank Stoltze: Before she faced questions from reporters, Seabrooks issued a short statement.
Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks: I want to express my sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Michael Byoune, the deceased.
Stoltze: Police shot 19-year-old Michael Byoune as he sat in a car outside a Rally's Hamburger Restaurant. They wounded another man. A third escaped injury. Seabrooks acknowledged the men were unarmed. She said two officers fired into the car because it was coming at them, and because someone jumped into it amid gunfire moments before.
Seabrooks: That car was being driven at them. They heard rounds being fired. One of the officers believed, and correctly so, actually both of them believed, that they were under fire.
Stoltze: The chief says it appears the gunfire was coming from another direction. She did not identify the officers; she said one is a five-year veteran and the other is a rookie. Both are on paid administrative leave. Jackie Roberts is the dead man's mother.
Jackie Roberts: I would like to know why you guys killed my son? What reason? What was the reason?
Stoltze: Roberts said that her son never got into any trouble, and that he had talked of finding a safer place to live.
Roberts: He just wanted to get out of L.A. because he was afraid. 'Cause he was big for his age. You know, when you're big for your age, you know, people feel threatened.
Stoltze: In this case, police never got a good look at Byoune. He reportedly was sitting in the back seat when he took at least one bullet to the chest. Police Chief Seabrooks, on the job just eight months in Inglewood, now faces an immediate test of her promise to improve the department.