Council members seek reports, recordings on LAPD shooting of teen
Three Los Angeles City Council members introduced a motion Friday aimed at ensuring public transparency during the investigation into the LAPD shooting that killed a 14-year-old girl who was struck by a stray bullet fired by police at an assault suspect inside a North Hollywood clothing store.
The motion — introduced by North Hollywood’s councilman, Paul Krekorian, as well as Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez and Councilman Kevin de Leon — requests two reports from the Los Angeles Police Department:
— one report on the status of the status of the LAPD’s internal investigation and the department’s cooperation with two other investigations into the shooting; and
— a second report that focuses on the department’s practices to protect bystanders during use- of-force incidents, as well as practices and policies following reports of an active shooter, which the LAPD was responding to at the Burlington store, despite the suspect not being armed.
The motion also instructed the Chief Legislative Analyst to report on best practices by other police departments for reducing the use of lethal force and for protecting bystanders from risk when force is used.
The motion also seeks to have the LAPD immediately release any remaining recordings related to the shooting, including body camera footage, 911 calls and radio transmissions.
While police released body-worn camera footage of the shooting Monday, attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the father of shooting victim Valentina Orellana Peralta, said last week that the family’s attorneys believe there is additional surveillance video from the Burlington store itself, which they are trying to access. Some surveillance video clips were already released by the LAPD.
“As the city grieves over this horrendous tragedy, it is imperative that the Council and the public learn all of the facts about this incident and how the deaths at the Burlington store could have been avoided,” the motion stated.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said Thursday that the city will “look comprehensively” at everything including training, tactics and policies in its investigation into the killing of a 14-year-old girl who was struck by a stray bullet fired by Los Angeles police at an assault suspect inside a Burlington store in North Hollywood.
The LAPD’s Force Investigation Division and Inspector General’s Office are both investigating the shooting, along with the California Department of Justice’s California Police Shooting Investigation Team for Southern California. The DOJ investigates officer shootings under provisions of a bill signed into law last year.
Once the investigation has been completed, the results will be turned over to the California Department of Justice’s Special Prosecutions Section within the Criminal Law Division for independent review.
Funeral arrangements for Valentina were announced on Wednesday, with civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton to deliver the eulogy and officiate on Monday at the City of Refuge Church in Gardena.
The family’s lawyers, Ben Crump and Rahul Ravipudi, will also speak at the funeral and repeat their call for justice for Valentina, who was killed in a dressing room while shopping with her mother for a Christmas dress on Dec. 23.
LAPD Officer William Jones, who shot Valentina while confronting a suspect, has been placed on administrative leave while authorities investigate the shooting. The officer’s union said that Jones had recently completed a course on how to handle an active shooter situation and was following his training. On Sunday a coalition of civil rights groups called for Jones to be arrested and prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter.
Police fatally shot 24-year-old Daniel Elena Lopez — who did not have a gun — but a bullet fired by Jones pierced a wall and struck Valentina.
The incident drew the attention of President Joe Biden, who offered his condolences to the people of Chile — where Valentina was from — while on a phone call with Chilean president-elect Gabriel Boric on Dec. 30.
Valentina came to Los Angeles with her mother from Santiago, Chile, about six months ago and had dreams of becoming a robotics engineer and an American citizen.