Los Angeles, CA – The Los Angeles police chief said that a fatal officer-involved shooting in a Hollywood gym locker room was justified, but he may discipline the officers anyway because a civilian review panel said they violated Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) policy.
The incident occurred on Oct. 29, 2018 at a 24 Hour Fitness gym in the 6300-block of Sunset Boulevard after staff called police to report a naked man who had assaulted customers and security officers and was refusing to leave, the Los Angeles Times reported.
LAPD Officer Edward Agdeppa and his partner responded to the call and arrived to find a naked 30-year-old Albert Ramon Dorsey in the locker room.
The officers told Dorsey to get dressed multiple times but he failed to comply, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In bodycam video, he appeared to be calmly drying himself off.
But when officers attempted to put the naked man in handcuffs, he flipped, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Both officers’ bodycams were knocked off in the first seconds of the struggle.
The officers attempted to tase Dorsey twice during the altercation but the electric shocks had no effect on the enraged, 280-pound man, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Officer Agdeppa told investigators that Dorsey grabbed his partner’s Taser and punched her in the face.
He said Dorsey was leveling “massive punches at high velocity” to his partner’s face and head while she was also battered with the partially attached handcuff hanging from the suspect’s wrist, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Officer Agdeppa told investigators that he shot Dorsey five times because he thought the man was going to kill or seriously injure his partner.
“If I even waited any longer, that next punch could have been the deadly one,” he said. “And I did not want to take that chance.”
Dorsey was pronounced dead at the scene, KCBS reported.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore announced shortly thereafter that the shooting was justified, the Los Angeles Times reported.
But on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Police Commission determined that both officers involved in the incident had violated LAPD policy when they failed back off and request assistance before attempting to make the arrest.
And Chief Moore agreed that the officers should have tried to de-escalate the situation.
“By not observing the warning signs of a potentially violent suspect, the officers acted too quickly and placed themselves at a tactical disadvantage during the incident,” the chief wrote in his report on the incident.
He cited the difference in size – Dorsey was six-foot-one and the officers were five-foot-one and five-foot-five – as one reason the officers should not have confronted the man without backup, the Los Angeles Times reported.
But the chief ultimately agreed that Officer Agdeppa’s use of deadly force was appropriate under the circumstances, when his partner was having her head beaten by the suspect.
Officer Agdeppa suffered a broken nose and his partner suffered swelling and bruising to her face and head, the Los Angeles Times reported.
But the civilian police review panel voted unanimously that Officer Agdeppa had violated LAPD policy by shooting Dorsey, KCBS reported.
The commission did not release its reasoning behind the ruling but Chief Moore’s report said officers failed to give the suspect complete warnings before they deployed their tasers.
“The circumstances are tragic and sad, and you have my condolences as chief and a father and an individual,” the chief said. “The department seeks to resolve circumstances like this peacefully. We look to provide and hire people of character and ability to be problem solvers and negotiate through difficult circumstances. We also give them instruction and guidance as to expectations, and when mistakes are made there are consequences.”
He said he was prohibited by law from disclosing what discipline would be imposed on the officers but said that they should know how to deal with difficult situations without killing the suspect, the Los Angeles Times reported.