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Civilian Board Questions LAPD Shooting

May 07, 2012  | 

The civilian Los Angeles Police Commission has ruled that an LAPD officer's use of deadly force violated policy and the officer's account of the shooting wasn't credible.

The commission questioned Det. Arthur Gamboa's account of a shooting where he fired at a suspect who threatened the officer with a knife during an undercover drug buy, reports the Los Angeles Times.

During the buy, suspect Dale Garrett offered to sell Det. Gamboa a Klonopin pill for $5. After Garrett grabbed the marked bill, Det. Gamboa walked toward him. Garrent apparently turned, brandished a knife, and threatened to kill the detective.

Gamboa then fired two rounds that struck Garrett on the left side of his back and killed him. The commission cited the fact that Garrett was hit in the back as troublesome evidence, however research conducted by the Force Science Institute has indicated that subjects can be hit in the back while turning to run from an officer.

During an interview with POLICE Magazine in 2010, institute founder Bill Lewinski said it would take only about 14- to 16 one-hundredths of a second for a subject to turn from facing an officer to facing directly away from the officer.

"An officer firing at a cadence of a quarter second a round can shoot at the subject in the front and the next shot a quarter second later will hit that subject directly in the back of the head," Lewinski said.


The Force Scientist

Comments (16)

Displaying 1 - 16 of 16

westcoastleo @ 5/7/2012 7:30 PM

It is typical that a civilian review board would find that the officers actions would be wrong. Civillian review boards have no credible training, knowledge or experience in law enforcement or how life in the streets is. As most of you LEO's know, we are behind the eight ball when it comes to doing the job.

Sugarbear @ 5/7/2012 7:45 PM

In fact the same people that you risk your life to protect will turn on you in a split second as a juror. We are definately behind the eight ball now days. Like Rodney Dangerfield, we just don't get no respect.

Morning Eagle @ 5/7/2012 8:11 PM

Implementation of civilian review boards was a bad idea to begin with. Very few if any members know scat about how it is out in the law enforcement world other than what they may have seen on TV or in the movies, let alone what it is like to be in a situation where split seconds really can mean the difference between life and death. To be a member of those boards a person should have served AT LEAST five years as a commissioned law enforcement officer on patrol in the jurisdiction the board has purview over. Then maybe they would be better able to understand situations and have some credibility when passing judgment on the actions taken by an officer. Bunch of paid Monday morning quarterbacks that, with a few possible exceptions would not have the guts to do the job they are sitting in judgment on.

TimFromLA @ 5/7/2012 8:15 PM

Keep in mind, the civilian review board are not elected but are appointed by the Mayor. The Mayor influences the review board and can make the officer's life a bed of roses or a living Hell. Funny thing too, Google Rampart Scandal and see how much the LAPD management cost the City of Los Angeles in lawsuits. Did they face a review board? No. They were promoted and got a raise.

Mark A. Brooks @ 5/7/2012 9:15 PM

Watch the videos yourself:

ET @ 5/8/2012 12:38 AM

I agree with Morning Eagle. Any civilian review board should be, at the very minimum, have some sort of experience in ballistics, CSI or perhaps be a retired LEO to make a judgment call on an OIS. Otherwise, they should have to defer to the experts and the investigated facts. For a board of un-elected, under-informed civilians to nit-pick at a LEO's split-second decision under heavy pressure against expert testimony which exonerates the officer, mind you, is absurd at best. If a jury has to base its verdicts on evidence/testimony in court, it should only make sense that this civilian review board should do the same (since an unjustified OIS can potentially mean criminal charges and end up in court anyway). How does it make sense that it's easier to throw a cop under the bus than it is to put a bad guy behind bars?

Jim @ 5/8/2012 7:58 AM

I can see a use for these review boards but I do believe that they should be comprised of a combination of a couple of active duty Officers who at least 15 yrs service as well as a couple of retired Officers who have been here, done that, and if possible a couple of civilians who should have some type of LE experience or former military, preferably retired or senior reserve.

Tom Ret @ 5/8/2012 8:06 AM

Maybe LAPD should question the credibility of the review board.

Capt David-Ret LA County @ 5/8/2012 8:29 AM

They may question all they like but unless other evidence contradicts the officer's, his version should stand. However, strange things can happen after a shooting if the administrators want it to. Just read

Rev. Lowrey @ 5/8/2012 9:50 AM

Absolutely! All you whiners are right. Review boards aren't compliant enough to police corruption, lack of training and self-discipline and the "good old boy" system of policing. Police should have to answer directly to the public at large instead. A badge is a symbol of public trust, not a free pass to run rampant.

M Ret @ 5/8/2012 10:54 AM

Rev. Lowery, ever had a weapon pulled on you? Had to defend yourself? Did not think so.

This is a police web site, why are (suspected) non-police (who have no idea of what they spout off about) on this site? Is there no vetting of LE credentials?

Tom Ret @ 5/8/2012 11:32 AM

Rev Lowery-you are entitled to your opinion but do us a favor and don't express it here on this forum. Cops don't like to be preached at especially by someone who doesn't have a clue what it takes to put his or her life on the line.

Rev. Lowrey @ 5/8/2012 3:39 PM

You guys often make some pretty big presumptions and that is a big part of the problem. And yes, I have had a gun pulled on me more than once and have been shot at, also had knives put to my throat. I had to resolve those incidents on my own. I also had a gang of about 20 young thugs use clubs to smash in my windshield while I was parked having a conversation (police didn't care) and I have had my church raided by police, simply because they didn't like a competing religion in their small town. I grew up in Detroit and knew quite a few cops (4 from the STRESS UNIT). There are some really great cops who take their job as a public servant seriously, and there are others (many who post here) who feel that anyone not in the "brotherhood" is an enemy, often referred to as "human garbage" who do not have equal rights to LEOs. The "my bro, right or wrong" is no different than an outlaw biker gang. The disdain shown for "citizens" is something that the public that employs you needs to be aware of. As someone who counsels LEO's as part of my profession, I feel I have an obligation to try to stay in touch with prevailing attitudes such as those expressed here - many of which are dangerous and disrespectful of the office and public trust you hold. Thank God for the LEOs who don't share them.

Tom Ret @ 5/8/2012 4:49 PM

Lowrey- I for one and assume most cops don't want to listen to a sanctimonious rant-try another forum.

Jack @ 5/8/2012 10:05 PM

Review boards make as much sense as having coppers going to apple and telling them they made the phone wrong.

FireCop @ 5/13/2012 7:19 AM

It's not a question of a bunch of whiners. The note about civilians not being trained in what we do is the key. If you want to see people's character change dramatically, put them in public safety. They learn over the years how so many people cheat, lie and do stupid things, repeatedly. It definately changes how you look at life. Unless you've been there, you just don't know. So don't ever think you are God enough Mr. Lowrey to pass judgement. Be safe.

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