California AG starts first investigation of police shooting


FILE – In this March 24, 2021, file photo, California Assemblyman Rob Bonta speaks during a news conference shortly after California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his nomination for state’s attorney general in San Francisco. California’s nominee for state attorney general on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, promised to hold police accountable for misconduct, as lawmakers offered veiled criticism of his predecessor who is now in the Biden administration. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California attorney general’s office is launching its first required investigation of a police shooting of an unarmed civilian, acting in a Los Angeles County death where police said the suspect walking on Hollywood Boulevard turned out to have a fake gun.

“We will take every step necessary to ensure a thorough, impartial investigation and review is completed,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement Friday.

State lawmakers, spurred by nationwide concerns over killings by police, last year approved legislation that requires the attorney general to determine whether police have violated the law in cases where civilians die. Previously, local prosecutors usually made those decisions.

But lawmakers limited the state investigations to cases where a civilian without a weapon is shot to death by an officer.

In the shooting before noon on Thursday, officers said they responded to reports of a man walking around with a handgun along the Walk of Fame. At least one person reported seeing him pointing a gun at someone.

Officers said a fake handgun was recovered at the scene, and LAPD Detective Meghan Aguilar, a police spokesperson, said she was “told that it appears to be exactly like a gun.”

The man, whose name has not been released, was pronounced dead at a hospital. A woman was treated for a minor injury but police said they didn’t know how she was hurt.

The shooting was less than a block from the Dolby Theatre, where the Oscars are normally presented, and near the famed corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue.

Bonta announced his office’s new procedures just last week, after the new law took effect July 1.

Under those rules, the California Department of Justice said its California Police Shooting Investigation Team for Southern California went to the scene as soon as it was notified by the Los Angeles Police Department of

Once the team’s investigation is done, it will send its report to the department’s Special Prosecutions Section for a decision on whether officers broke the law.

The LAPD will separately determine if officers violated any procedural rules or policies. Bonta thanked the department for its collaboration.

“Now, more than ever, we must work together in the spirit of this new law to build and maintain trust in our criminal justice system for all of our communities,” he said.

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