LAPD Releases First Body Camera Video After In-Custody Death

The LAPD made public Wednesday recordings from officers' body-worn-video cameras that captured a confrontation with a suspected burglar who later died in police custody.

The public showing will be the first time the department has volunteered recordings made by officers during "critical incidents," such as police shootings and in-custody deaths.

The video was released under rules approved by the Los Angeles Police Commission in March that call for the automatic publication of recordings with 45 days.

Widely publicized cellphone video showed part of the 10-minute encounter May 6 between Jose Chavez, 25, and officers from the LAPD's Newton Division, who had been sent to investigate a report of a prowler in the 4400 block of Towne Avenue.

The cellphone video showed Chavez using a shovel and a doormat to try to block the impact of less-than-lethal bean bag rounds fired by officers. The video also showed Chavez jumping from a raised porch and attempting to flee the confrontation before he was subdued with shocks from a Taser, the LAPD said in a statement.

The snap of bean bag rounds can be heard on the cellphone video, along with the voice of an officer yelling repeatedly, "get on the ground."

The cause of Chavez's death has not been determined, the LA County Coroner's Office said this week. On May 21 Chavez's family announced it was filing a government claim against the LAPD for wrongful death, a procedural step required before a lawsuit.

"He didn't deserve to die this way," said Chavez's sister Isabel.

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