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Reaction to the question, 'Was the shooting of Manuel Jamines justified?'

Protesters at a rally last year after the police shooting of day laborer Manuel Jamines, September 10, 2010
Protesters at a rally last year after the police shooting of day laborer Manuel Jamines, September 10, 2010
Photo by Neon Tommy/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners ruled yesterday regarding last year's fatal police shooting of day laborer Manuel Jamines, backing the department's position that the officer's decision to shoot the Guatemalan immigrant was not out of line. The shooting in the Westlake district, which took place in September, triggered violent street protests in the days that followed.

Jamines, who was 37, was shot by department veteran Frank Hernandez, who fired two shots. Some witnesses described Jamines as intoxicated and waving a knife at passersby and later at police; other witnesses said that Jamines, who spoke a Mayan dialect, dropped the knife before the officer fired. Hernandez had been involved in previous shootings.

Since announced, the ruling has generated a small protest, a fair amount of media coverage, and various reactions online. A post on KPCC's Facebook page today asked the question, "Do you think officer Frank Hernandez was justified in shooting Guatemalan day laborer Manuel Jamines?"

Salvador Velasco replied:

Probably within the context of the law. One could argue the man was asking for it, after all here's a "drunk guy on the corner waving a knife around". What would you do if he came at you, after all these cops are human. That being said, can we train police officers to aim for non- lethal areas of the bodies or use their can of mace up before firing away, after all it wasn't a gun he was waving around at them.

John Faulkner wrote:
Additional measures could have been taken with shooting-to-kill as the last option.

Gil Contreras wrote:
?@KPCC: until you actually put on a police uniform, receive police training in how to handle armed suspects, you and the civilian world will never understand what its like to face an armed person and try to make a decision (in an instant) that falls within the limits of the law and your dept policy. I dont even know why you guys would ask such a silly question of civilians. Why dont you ask cops what they think?

Yolanda Fuchs wrote:
The police are armed with firearms and they are trained to disarm. I am sure there was a better way to handle this. Go ahead and shoot the suspect in the arm or the leg to disarm or incapacitate him. You do not have to kill the suspect. What happened to batons or stun guns? You do not have to use lethal gunfire each and every time.