Inglewood P.D. Places Eight On Leave After Officer-Involved Shooting

Seven officers and a field sergeant are on administrative leave from the Inglewood Police Department. They were involved in last weekend’s fatal shooting of a homeless man. More on the story from KPCC's Brian Watt.

Brian Watt: A department statement says the eight won't return to patrol before more evaluations and more training. The sergeant has 20 years of experience. The officers' time on the force ranges from 1 year to 17 years.

The Inglewood Police Department says that in Sunday's incident, a homeless man, Eddie Franco, had a toy gun in his waistband and reached for it after officers had ordered him to put his hands up. But those officers couldn't tell it was a toy, and they fired at least 40 rounds. Former Los Angeles police officer David Klinger teaches criminology at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

David Klinger: When people hear "toy gun," it's easy to think "Oh, well there's no threat, so they shouldn't have shot."

Watt: But if a firearm looks real and operable, says Klinger:

Klinger: Police officers have an obligation at that point to treat it as if it is a legitimate threat to their safety, and the safety of the citizens.

Watt: Inglewood police have released a photo of the toy gun shattered at the crime scene, and photos of a replica they reconstructed. The barrel is shiny silver, like that of a real gun. The tip of the barrel is orange plastic, like a toy.

Officers who'd responded to an emergency call couldn't see the plastic tip because it was tucked away in Franco's waistband. The department's statement says that none of the officers took part in the three other officer-involved shootings in Inglewood during the past four months. Four independent probes into those shootings are in progress.

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