Black Lives Matter Calls for Ouster of Chief After Shooting Ruled in Policy

Outside the Police Administration Building, hundreds of angered activists chanted "Fire Charlie Beck! Remove Matt Johnson!"

Black Lives Matter protesters called for the ousting of the Los Angeles Police Department chief and the president of the Police Commission Tuesday during demonstrations outside LAPD headquarters in downtown LA after the police commission ruled the fatal shooting of a 30-year-old black woman last year was within policy.

The Los Angeles police officer who fatally shot the woman, identified as Redel Jones, in the aftermath of a pharmacy robbery in August 2015 in the Crenshaw district acted within department policy, the city Police Commission ruled.

The decision immediately sparked shouts of protest from the audience, which was packed with activists and some Black Lives Matter members calling for the officer to be disciplined or fired. Some in the crowd shouted "Shame on you" as board members adjourned their meeting and walked from the room.

Outside the Police Administration Building, hundreds of angered activists chanted "Fire Charlie Beck! Remove Matt Johnson!" referring to the Los Angeles Police Department chief and the president of the Police Commission.

The commission, after meeting in closed session for more than an hour, announced that it found fault with some of the tactics used by officers in the Aug. 12, 2015, shooting of Redel Jones, but found that Officer Brett Ramirez's shooting of the woman did not violate LAPD policy.

Ramirez has been with the department for about four years.

Jones was shot in the 4100 block of Marlton Avenue after police responded to a call of a pharmacy robbery in the 3700 block of Santa Rosalia Drive.

Police said officers saw a woman matching the description of the suspect in an alley west of Marlton Avenue, and the shooting occurred when officers tried to detain her. Police said the woman was armed with a knife, and that a knife was recovered at the scene.

According to an internal LAPD report, officers were chasing Jones in the alley when they saw her pull out a large knife. The officers allegedly ordered Jones to drop the knife, but she continued to run.

When Jones "suddenly stopped and turned toward the officers," the report said, one of the officers used his Taser, which didn't seem to affect her. The report also said that money and a robbery demand note were found in Jones' clothing and knife was near her body.

A woman named Courtyana Franklin, however, that she witnessed the shooting in the side-view mirror of her car, and she insisted Jones was running away from officers when she was shot, not advancing on them.

Jones' husband, Marcus Vaughn, was among those attending today's commission meeting, telling the panel in an emotional statement, "You all stole her from me." After the commission's decision was announced, Vaughn was seen wiping away tears amid a crowd of supporters outside the headquarters building. Some protesters left the Police Administration Building and began gathering on the east steps of City Hall in an impromptu sit-in.

The commission heard a series of emotional comments at the onset of its meeting. One woman had to be escorted out of the room when she began speaking out when Beck tried to address the panel.

With order restored, Beck said police shootings this year are down 30 percent compared to last year, saying it's an indication that officers are "doing a better job of regulating themselves."

During the public-comment period, one critic disparaged a much-publicized meeting last week between Beck, Mayor Eric Garcetti and rappers Snoop Dogg and The Game -- billed as an effort to open a dialogue between police and the black community.

Tensions between police and the black community have been running high following two fatal shootings by police in the past week -- of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.

The tensions escalated into last week's sniper shootings during a protest in Dallas, killing five police officers.

Police Commission President Matt Johnson called for a "meaningful discussions" with the community.

"Whether we're talking about Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, Dallas or right here in Los Angeles, the actions of a few have caused so much pain and anger in communities across America," Johnson said. "It is my hope that meaningful dialogue can occur with all of our communities so we can continue to improve the relationship between our police officers and our residents."

Garcetti and Beck, along with mayors and police chiefs from across the country, are scheduled to be in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss the issue of violence involving police.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday the meeting was still being organized, but in addition to law enforcement officials it will include "activists, civil rights leaders, local political leaders from the across the country." He said the meeting will be an effort "to try to further the dialogue and the identification of specific solutions to repairing the bonds of trust that have frayed in so many communities between law enforcement officials and the citizens that they're sworn to serve and protect."

City News Service contributed to this report.

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