The Los Angeles Police Commission ruled Tuesday that an LAPD sergeant acted within department policy when he fatally shot a 31-year-old man who was holding a bicycle part that resembled a handgun in Culver City in January.
The unanimous decision, justifying the sergeant’s actions and clearing him of any punishment, came after family members of Victor Valencia told the commission during a virtual Zoom meeting that Valencia suffered from mental illness, was of little threat and deserved better.
“There’s other ways to go about things,” said Sara Cervantes, Valencia’s cousin. “What gave the reason for this officer to shoot down my cousin like he was nothing?”
The commission agreed with recommendations from LAPD Chief Michel Moore and a separate panel that reviews police shootings that Sgt. Colin Langsdale, who shot Valencia, should receive a tactical debriefing but was otherwise in line with department policy and therefore justified in his actions.
According to a report Moore provided to the commission Tuesday, Langsdale responded about 12:45 p.m. after police received reports of a man with a gun — with one caller saying he was “waving it around,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
Langsdale said he believed Valencia had a gun. Other witnesses at the scene said they also believed he had a gun. Surveillance footage from a local gas station released by police showed Valencia holding up the bicycle part and appearing agitated.