A coalition of civil rights groups is calling for the arrest and prosecution of the police officer who accidentally shot and killed a 14-year-old girl while confronting a suspect in a North Hollywood store, Burlington.
Operation Hope’s Najee Ali told City News Service on Sunday that he at least wants Officer William Jones to be charged with negligent homicide, similar to the charges against former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter in the fatal shooting of Daunte. Wright was convicted. Potter said she mistook her gun for a taser.
Ali and other Latin American and African American civil rights activists were planning a press conference outside LAPD headquarters on Sunday afternoon at which they will also announce a formal request to meet with Police Chief Michel Moore to discuss “policies and procedures pertaining to both deaths in this one tragic incident “. . “
Official William Jones, 42, was on administrative leave while authorities are investigating the shooting that occurred two days before Christmas when police responded to reports that a suspect indiscriminately attacked customers in the store on 12121 Victory Blvd.
A suspect, later identified as 24-year-old Daniel Elena Lopez, entered the store on his bike around 11 a.m. and began beating customers with his bike chain lock shortly afterwards, with a woman lying bloody on the floor when officers arrived . Witnesses who called 911 were unsure if the suspect had a gun.
Police fatally shot Elena Lopez, but a bullet fired by Jones slammed through a wall, killing young Valentina Orellana-Peralta as she and her mother sought refuge in a locker room.
Ali believes Jones should be held responsible for the death. Despite planning to request a meeting with Moore, Ali told CNS that he had not reached out to the officer who fired the fatal shot.
“He can’t say anything and I don’t want to hear anything,” said Ali. “Ultimately we believe it was an accident, we believe that he is sorry for what he did, but these feelings will not bring (Orellana-Peralta) back to life. Our coalition is about responsibility. “
Jones is a 10-year LAPD veteran who worked as a community relations officer, ran a nonprofit that looked after young people at risk, and helped coach the Valencia Vikings High School football team, the New York Times reported.
The officer made no comment on the shooting, but his attorney Leslie Wilcox told reporters last week that he was “really devastated by the results of the shooting that was affected by the officers, as heartbroken as you can imagine. He behaved as he was ”. trained to do. It’s hard for him to see it the way it’s portrayed. “
A newly released video shows the moment LAPD officials met a man who assaulted buyers at a Burlington coat factory in North Hollywood. Beverly White will report for NBC4 News on December 27, 2021 at 11 p.m.
The board of directors of the Los Angeles Police Protective League made the following statement to the CNS: “We can certainly sympathize with the pain Valentina Orellana-Peralta’s family endures after this accident, but to see the usual anti-police activists try to do this politicize incident is really disappointing. These misguided activists forget the deadly lessons of massacres like the Columbine High School tragedy. A delay in responding to a potential active shooter could result in a mass casualty. Officer Jones responded to multiple 911 calls that reported an active shooter. Gunner was following his training, and a terrible accident occurred. “
“Over a dozen people have been shot and several killed since New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles, and these activists haven’t looked at what they’re going to do about it,” the statement said. “Instead of pointing a finger at a police officer immediately in an accident, these activists should look in a mirror and ask themselves the difficult questions of why they couldn’t slow or stop the carnage of black and Hispanic youth in our country, whatever these activists promote or claim it does not stop the violence. “
Tom Saggau, a police union spokesman, told the New York Times last week that Jones was “someone everyone in our country wanted to hire four days ago.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that Elena Lopez was convicted of stealing a car, carrying a loaded gun in public, and carrying a gun as a felon.
The newspaper also reported that he was arrested in the San Fernando Valley in August 2020 on charges of domestic battery, car theft and reckless escape from police, later pleaded guilty to domestic battery and escaping from police, and was sentenced to two years in state prison .
However, Ali said the suspect’s criminal history was not to blame for the tragic events in the store.
“I think DA (George) Gascon is doing an excellent job reforming the criminal justice system in a fair way. Obviously this situation is an aberration,” Ali told CNS. “We believe this violent suspect certainly had mental health issues. We believe the LAPD failed in this regard as it did not bring in mental health experts to resolve the situation.”
“… At the end of the day there is only one person to blame and that is LAPD officer William Jones.”
Last week, Orellana-Peralta’s parents called for full transparency into the various investigations in a tearful press conference outside LAPD headquarters.
One day after the LAPD posted videos and 911 calls of her fatal shooting of an alleged perpetrator and an innocent 14-year-old girl, the teen’s parents spoke up. Beverly White will report for NBC4 News on December 28, 2021 at 11 p.m.
“When I screamed for help, the police didn’t come to help me or my daughter, but I kept screaming,” said Valentina’s mother Soledad Peralta.
“When the police finally came, they took me out of the locker room and left my daughter there. I wanted them to help, but they just left her alone.”
They said through translators that their daughter came to Los Angeles from Chile about six months ago and dreamed of becoming an engineer, an American citizen and watching a Los Angeles Lakers game with her father.
“She wanted to be here in the United States because this was the land of opportunity, and she loved it,” said lawyer Erica Contreras, translating for Valentina’s father, Juan Pablo Orellana Larenas.
“The only thing left to him now is to seek justice for his daughter. He will not rest until justice is done to his daughter,” added Contreras.
Valentina attended High Tech Los Angeles Charter School where she had just passed her math and physics exams.
Prosecutor Rahul Ravipudi said the family’s lawyers had sent the LAPD an evidence preservation letter “so that we can actually have transparency on all evidence and information so that the LAPD doesn’t steer the narrative of their actions. We can reveal this truth ourselves. “
Ravipudi said the letter was sent immediately after the shooting “to ensure that all evidence is saved” and will be available to lawyers throughout the investigation.
While police released body-worn camera footage on Monday, attorney Ben Crump said Tuesday that lawyers believe there are also surveillance videos from the Burlington store itself that they are trying to access. Some surveillance videos were released by the LAPD on Monday.
“This chaotic incident, which resulted in the death of an innocent child, is tragic and devastating for everyone involved,” Chief Moore said in a statement following the shooting. “I am deeply sorry for the loss of this young girl and I know that there are no words that can alleviate the unimaginable pain for the family. It is my duty to conduct a thorough, complete and transparent investigation into the circumstances that led to this . ” Tragedy and provide the family and the public with as much information as possible. “
Moore told the Times that it didn’t appear like the officer who fired “knew anyone was behind it or that he was looking at anyone but the suspect and a wall,” but said every aspect of what happened and why analyzed by LAPD investigators.
The LAPD’s Force Investigation Division and the Inspector General’s Office both investigated the shooting, along with the California Police Shooting Investigation Team of the California Department of Justice for Southern California. The DOJ is investigating the shooting of officers under the terms of a bill signed last year.
Once the investigation is complete, the results will be submitted to the California Department of Justice’s Special Prosecution Division within the Criminal Justice Department for independent review.