Crime & Justice

Lawsuits filed in police shooting of unarmed man in Venice

Brendon Glenn was fatally shot by LAPD officers May 5, 2015. A friend created a t-shirt with his image the next day.
Brendon Glenn was fatally shot by LAPD officers May 5, 2015. A friend created a t-shirt with his image the next day.
Frank Stoltze/KPCC

The mother of an unarmed man fatally shot by a Los Angeles police officer last year sued the city and the police chief Tuesday.

The lawsuits alleging wrongful death and excessive force in the killing of Brendon Glenn, 29, were filed in local and federal courts by attorneys for Sheryn Camprone of New York. The lawsuits, which seek unspecified damages, also name the officers involved in the May 5 confrontation in the Venice area.

"Glenn was unarmed and not threatening anyone. The killing was completely unjustified," according to the lawsuits.

The lawsuits cite 21 fatal shootings by Los Angeles Police Department officers in 2015, saying Chief Charlie Beck has failed to adequately discipline his officers, "creating a culture of impunity within the LAPD that encourages such violence and incidents of unreasonable force against the public."

Last month, Beck recommended that the officer who shot Glenn twice in the back be criminally charged. The district attorney's office hasn't decided whether to file charges.

The shooting occurred after two officers responded to a 911 call about a man arguing with a bar bouncer and hassling passers-by, police said at the time. The officers spoke to Glenn, who began walking away but then came back and began struggling with someone on the sidewalk, according to a police news release. The officers were trying to detain Glenn when the shooting occurred.

The lawsuits assert that Glenn was standing on a sidewalk when the doorman told him to move on and then came into physical contact with Glenn, who started to leave when officers confronted him. The officers grabbed Glenn without justification and gave no verbal command or warning before he was shot, the suits say.

City attorney's office spokesman Frank Mateljan said he could not comment on pending litigation.

Beck's recommendation came after investigators concluded that Glenn was on his stomach trying to push himself up when Officer Clifford Proctor shot him, and that Glenn wasn't trying to take a gun from Proctor or his partner.

The shooting came amid tensions nationwide over police killings of unarmed black men. One of Glenn's parents is black, as is Proctor.

The officer's attorney, Larry Hanna, contends the shooting was justified because Proctor thought Glenn was reaching for his partner's gun, and that surveillance video of the shooting does not show both of Glenn's hands.

The lawsuits also criticize the police department's refusal to release the video, saying "the city continues to hide from scrutiny."