Crime & Justice

Fatal shooting of unarmed homeless man in Venice unjustified, commission says

File photo: Brendon Glenn was fatally shot by LAPD officers May 5, 2015. A friend created a t-shirt with his image the next day.
File photo: 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

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The officer who shot and killed an unarmed homeless man in Venice last year was not justified in using lethal force, the Los Angeles Police Commission ruled Tuesday.

The board voted 4-0 in closed session to approve chief Charlie Beck's report, which said video footage contradicted officer Clifford Proctor's claim that Brendon Glenn was reaching for a gun when he was shot.

Earlier, this year, Beck, in a rare move, recommended criminal charges against the officer.

No law enforcement officer in L.A. County has faced criminal charges related to an on-duty shooting in 15 years. 

L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey's office said she has not yet decided whether to file. 

In Glenn's death, a body camera worn by one of the officers captured portions of the incident, as did a surveillance camera at the nearby Townhouse Bar, where the ordeal began.   

Last May, police responding to a 911 call about a man arguing with the bar's bouncer encountered Glenn, 29, who they said became involved in a struggle with someone on the sidewalk. 

The officers initially sent Glenn on his way then returned when they saw him turn back toward the bar and fight with the bouncer.

Glenn struggled with the officers as they arrested him, and Proctor told investigators Glenn also grabbed for his partner's holster. That claim, the report said, was contradicted by Proctor's partner and by video footage:

"At no time during incident can Glenn's hand be observed on or near any portion of Officer [REDACTED]'s holster," the report said.

Proctor shot Glenn twice in the back, at a range of one foot, six inches, killing him.

The report faults Proctor not only for using lethal force against Glenn, but for compromising the safety of his partner, who was in the line of fire.

Both officers were faulted for not using de-escalation tactics to take Glenn into custody, instead using commands that may have escalated the situation with an inebriated man.

In January, Beck said Glenn's death was the first time in his career he had recommended criminal charges against an officer in a fatal, on-duty officer-involved shooting.

In February, Glenn's mother sued Beck and the city for wrongful death and excessive force.

Read the full report below:

This story has been updated.