Police Call For Calm After Immigrant Death Probe

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Police Commission said Tuesday that an officer was justified in using lethal force on a Guatemalan immigrant last year — a fatal shooting that sparked days of protest in the Latino community.

KNX 1070’s Claudia Peschiutta Reports

The ruling by the civilian oversight panel put police on alert for renewed unrest, but no problems were immediately reported. Police mobilized ahead of the findings’ release, and at least one immigration activist group had called for a rally near MacArthur Park, where Manuel Jaminez died.

About three dozen people attended the rally, which police said was calm.

In its findings, the commission accepted an internal report by the LAPD that concluded the Sept. 5 killing of Jaminez was a proper use of lethal force. An independent review by Inspector General Nicole C. Bershon also determined the shooting was in line with department policy, the commission’s president, John W. Mack, said.

“I’m confident, when I speak on behalf of my fellow commissioners, that our review of the case has been exhaustive, conclusive and has left no stone unturned,” Mack said. “This has been a long, particularly difficult and sad incident for all involved.”

The district attorney’s office also announced it concluded last week that Officer Frank Hernandez acted in self-defense, and that it declined to file criminal charges.

A Los Angeles attorney for Jaminez’s Guatemala-based family, which is suing police, said he was disappointed but not surprised. “The script was already written,” Luis A. Carrillo said.

Police Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the investigation was thorough and unbiased.

At a news conference, they called for calm and noted that since the incident, police sought to improve relations with the Guatemalan community in the area where the shooting occurred. Many of the residents speak indigenous dialects and little Spanish or English.

“Be peaceful. Let’s not take a step backward,” Beck said.

Southern California Immigration Coalition, which organized the rally, said in a statement that “we cannot allow the LAPD to murder yet another migrant from our community!”

Police said Jaminez, 37, a day laborer, had been drinking and tried to stab a pregnant woman and other passers-by before Hernandez, a bicycle officer, shot him. A police report said Jaminez lunged toward an officer after refusing orders in Spanish and English to drop the knife.

Beck said six witnesses told police they saw Jaminez with the knife, and that other witnesses said they heard the officer order him to drop the weapon.

DNA testing showed blood on the knife belonged to Jaminez, which Beck said proved he had held it.

The chief also underscored that Jaminez rushed toward the officer, holding his knife in a stabbing position, and was 12 feet in front of Hernandez when the officer fired.

Hernandez was in a “defense of life” situation, he said, adding “I would never ask them to shoot a knife out of somebody’s hand.”

Three days of sometimes violent protests were held by activists and immigrants who didn’t believe the police version of events or felt that non-lethal force should have been used.

The killing touched a nerve in the Westlake community, a poor and densely packed enclave of Central Americans immigrants who are often suspicious of police.

The commission’s decision doesn’t help to bridge that “gap of distrust,” said Jorge-Mario Cabrera, spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. The group planned to ask the U.S. Justice Department to start a civil rights investigation, he said.

The commission decision had been expected, especially since prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against the officer.

Paul M. Weber, head of the police officers’ union, applauded the ruling.

“As we have said repeatedly, when individuals threaten police officers with a deadly weapon, they alone are responsible for the consequences of their actions,” Weber said.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

More from Claudia Peschiutta
  • Saber 1

    The police tell you to drop it, just frigging drop it. Oh thats right, he did’nt speak English. Big shocker. Police and Fire departments can’t be expected to learn and speak every third world language out there.

    • Jackie

      That’s ridiculous!!! There is no excuse for killing someone…especially if they didn’t have a gun! If the guy was coming at the officer with a knife…shoot the guy in the legs to stop him for crying out loud!!!!

      • Karen


        You are NUTS. A knife CAN MURDER SOMEONE TOO. Thank goodness you are not a police officer.

        I am sick and tired of everyone second guessing them. Who should really be investigated is the A-hole who shot someone stealing their gas.

      • Be REAL

        Jackie…..are you serious?! Shoot in the leg? What if we have a mad mad lung at you with a knife and give you a gun. Now, let’s have you try to shoot him as he is racing to you. Are you that stupid?!

      • Clown


        In case you did not know, you are a total idiot.
        That is all.

      • me


      • lotsoflaughs

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    • JOU

      The story doesn’t specify if the man spoke English or not. But if you hear the full report…they did tell him to drop the weapon in English and Spanish.

      • Stacy

        Jou, it doesn’t even matter if the guy spoke english or spanish or whatnot. He was coming at a police officer with a knife in a stabbing position and the police officer was yelling at him, probably with weapon drawn. Do we really think a translation is necessary?

    • Phoolio

      Spanish is just as common as English, foo’. Also, the article clearly states the officer told him in both languages.

  • cz

    the officer did nothing wrong, he should get a medal for his quick thinking..Dont bring a knife to a gun fight.

    • el senor


      • Duh!

        You’re the idiot! The cop got adequate training and I can guarantee you EVERY COP would have reacted in the same way that this fine officer did! Shame on you! I hope the cops turn their heads if you are ever in danger!

    • Latino 4 life!!!

      Time to start slaughtering PIGS!!!!!!!!

      • Saber 1

        Time to round up all the ILLEGAL ALIENS and ship them home with their ruuny nose kids. They spread sickness that we got rid of twenty plus years ago. We would cut welfare in half, medicalcost cut, less traffic and more jobs. You can be LATINO $ LIFE in your country. Your country is a fourth world toilet and you people are hell bent on bringing this one down.

  • citizen

    Was there any doubt as to what the outcome would be?

  • ICE ICE baby

    1 down, 110 million to go………



      • Duh!

        Brown people like you make this world look bad!

      • legal citizen

        El senior
        You are a total idiot don’t forget the lesson learned here don’t bring a knife to a gun fight

  • Doug

    The killing is unfortunate, but the officer has every right to protect himself.

  • Jackie

    WOW…it is sad that so many people are so closed minded or should I say ignorant. Sure insult all you want and continue attributing it to “English” or immigration. The fact is…these people are trained officers. I’m sure the cop was smart enough to stay several feet away from the suspect. So, YES…I do expect the officer to shoot the suspect anywhere to stop him besides the head! If that fails…then yes shoot the suspect dead. COME ONE!!!!! With that excuse any cop can say he killed for his own protection!

    • Stacy

      Jackie, you really are the ignorant one. How much weapons and /or police training do you have? How familiar are you with the things an attacker with a knife can do? Furthermore, the man was commiting a crime and being ordered by the police to drop the knife which he failed to do. Even language is no excuse; he knew he had a knife, he knew the officer was shouting orders at him, and he CHARGED the officer. If you are in the act of commiting an assault on a police officer, especialyl while wielding a deadly weapon, then you deserve to be put down any way the officer judges necessary because it’s you that are endangering his life. And let’s say for the moment that the officer had enough time and clarity of mind to be able to shoot the criminal inthe leg, as you suggest. If the criminal keeps coming, the officer is still in grave and possibly lethal danger. In case you aren’t aware, when a criminal attacks an officer, we are not looking at a situation where we balance one injury (a bullet to the leg) with another injury (a knife stabbing). There is absolutely no reason why any police officer in the course of doing his duty should ever have to endanger himself needlessly, whether that threat be lethal or non-lethal; it wa the criminal whose actions perpetrated the situation and therefore the criminal who is to blame for the outcome. And in case you did not read the article, the crimnal was 12 feet away when the officer fired. 12 feet is very very close when someone is coming at you with a knife, and a shot in the leg is not going to stop a determined attacker with a knfe. And there is absolutely no guarantee that after that, you will ever have a chance to get off another shot again. In fact, if the criminal has any training with weapons or how to use them, it’s most likely that he can kill you before you can do anything else if all you have done was to shoot him in the leg with a pistol.

    • Karen


      WOW . It is so sad that you are so ignorant about weapons.

      A crazed individual with a knife was going after the officer WHO DID TELL HIM TO DROP THE WEAPON in English and Spanish. If the crazed man was not killed, the police officer would have been killed. I prefer to keep the policeman.

      Too freaking bad for the guy wtih the knife. Don’t charge at a police officer with a knife and you won’t get shot. That is the moral of the stroy.

    • Saber 1

      Donate your brain to science so we know what stupid looks like on an x-ray. Shoot to kill, knife, spoon kill the guy anfter he lunges at you. He was an illegal alien who got drunk and was stabbing people. He spoke no English and was ordered to stop. If you see man with badge and gun aimedat you, you would think he would add those up and stop.

  • JOE

    The badge gives the cop every right to kill anyone at anytime.
    No one is safe with the LAPD death squad on the street.

    • punisher

      Not so much you turd. officers aren’t trained to maim or lose. thats why people like him or you shouldn’t step up to cops.

  • Josh Butts

    Listen people, you come after an officer with a knife you will get shot. Police don’t mess around in this city with all these crazies. You do what the police tell you. The guy was drunk threatening people including a pregnant woman just walking by with a knife. One more dead criminal is what I see. Hats off to the LAPD, good job.

  • Karen

    By the way, per the California state constitution, ENGLISH is the official language.

    Therefore, LEARN HOW TO SPEAK ENGLISH and maybe you’ll understand the police’s orders.


    Great vedrdict. If these dam immigrants don’t like it go back to where they came from. Jackie Jackie Jackie….. no words to describe you. Do you know how hard it is to hit a moving object in the arm or leg. Guess not. Sad it was a lose of life but when they yell drop the knife you drop the knife. He knew they were cops with their guns pointed at him, cmon. Guns don’t kill people and cops don’t kill people. Stupid people kill people and themselves.

  • So what!!

    Shoot 1st ask questions later. F the illegals.

    • el senor


      • Rick

        No, we will. Yet when you got here and offered to clean toilets, wash cars and pick fruit for $1.00 an hour you locked yourselves into these positions. If that is your definition of a better life that is cool. Yet do not say that we will not do these jobs. We would for an honest USA Pay Scale and not the wages you settled on. The illegal prolonged visitation duration has lowered the USA Pay Scale for many positions Nation Wide! Should I say Thank You or F you? If you want to know who locked you in this positions, look in the Mirror.

  • Duh!

    if Cops are too lenient to every WEAPON wielding suspects, there’ld be a lot of police funerals to attend.

    Gotta be tough on crime!!

    ILLEGALS OR NOT, COPS need to stand their ground & in this case, they did LA a favor by taking out an ILLEGAL.

  • Ed Rooney

    Problems with this Dumbazz’ death is that his Kids will be nurtured by the California Welfare & Healthcare system until they reach 18.

    • Karen

      Unless we start getting smart and say NO MORE PUBLIC BENEFITS TO ILLEGALS, you betcha.

      What gets on my nerves is the picture of these kids holding their dad’s picture as if he were a hero.


      • LA SENORA


  • Durden

    you could have shot him anywhere, but i guess 2 times in the head seemed best? There’s a police station 1 and a half blocks from where he got killed, I’m sure there were better options than ending a life.

    Both of them are/were idiots… with weapons. Its just the sober one who decided to use his. Just as he has shot 2 people before.

    people in uniforms are just people, doesn’t matter if he washes your car great, or spits in your food at the drive thru. Uniform doesn’t change personality.

    • Jackie

      Finally someone with some common sense. Well said! : D

    • Stacy

      Durden, you are an idiot. If a man is coming at you with a knife, ignoring your orders to drop his weapon, I really doubt that you would take the time to try to aim for somewhere that might not stop him. Especially when that person is 12 feet away. If you have no idea what can really happen then try this: Have one of your friends come charging at you from 12 feet away with a magic marker and tell him to try to simulate killing you as best he can by just marking you up with the marker to show stab and slice wounds. Give him jsut five seconds to do this (because a person who has adreline pumping through them who has sustained a non lethal gunshot wound is likely to have AT LEAST that long to continue his attack) and see what kind of “damage” he could have done to you. And that’s jjust showing you what the attacker could do even if seriously wounded enough to where he only has five seconds. There is no way anyone, much less a trained police officer who knows what an attacker can do to him or her, can be expected to take those kind of stupid chances when being assaulted by someone with a deadly weapon.

      • Durden

        next time my friend is stumbling drunk, i will do this test. lets pray i don’t shoot him twice in the head

    • jimmy

      maybe shoot the knife out of his hand?? this isn’t the movies idiot.

      • Durden

        haha, you are an idiot. don’t jump to conclusions boy. Twice in the head is pretty damn accurate, but that’s beside the issue(that was the conclusion). Grow a brain

  • Welcome to California

    Manual Jaminez is not a victim, he is a criminal. He was intoxicated in public, provoking a police officer with a deadly weapon (knife). This individual should have been home taking care of his family. He made his choice and paid the price.
    Next time you need a police officer to protect and serve think about the fact that they are putting their lives on the line for you. Bashing the L.A.P.D. for the job they do is wrong! Think about it next time you or your family is at risk and an officer comes to ensure your safety.
    This could have been avoided if the suspect was a law abiding citizen and conformed to the laws of this land.
    Thank you L.A.P.D. for your commitment to protect and serve!

  • Lick Me

    This is a prime example of immigrant infested hoods who breeds nothing but crying out foul at every police shooting. And the result is, every time you call the cops for disturbances, they are afraid to come by your stupid hood coz it can cost ’em their jobs or better yet, their lives.

    And people living in the hoods always wonder why response time is always long.

  • Jackie

    In the story posted by the huffington post, reader PeaceMomma says it best:

    “When you hear the term, “illegal community”­, who do you imagine? Is anyone who breaks any law branded as illegal? Or, is it just reserved for the poorest and brown skinned? Ask yourself this question. What were the immigratio­n laws like when your ancestors came here in search of a better future for you? Here is a hint: There weren’t any. There is nothing more unamerican than describing someone in this derogatory way who comes here in search of the American dream. It is against our core values.”

    Here’s the link

  • brian

    if illegals leave this country you guys will be left with higher debts and another racist point in the history of this country you b*****s

    • Onclewillie

      Who said anything about race? It is you and your ilk that identify illegal aliens as being “brown skinned.” I would like to see illegal canadians deported as well.

  • Onclewillie

    Peacemoma and Jackie are both idiots. If you did not enter this country then you are an illegal. You should be arrested and deported. e
    Eliminate the illegal aliens and you are well on your way to ending the problems.

  • Mary

    The police officers actions were wrong and the family should have won the lawsuit. When the officer saw that the man was Guatemalan as he went torward the pregnant woman, the officer should have yelled out, “Get me an Interpreter” and waited for one to arrive on scene even if a stabbing was occuring.

    • Rick

      Mary, it was a busy L.A. street. One stabbing can lead to several. When someone has a weapon you wait????
      C@@L, I hope one day you are being assaulted and someone yells WAIT!
      You are a joke!

      • Stacy

        Uh, Rick, I think Mary was being highly facetious….

    • richard staggs

      Wait for an interpreter what kind of idiot are you? Illegal imigrants cost L.A County over 2.4 billion dollars annually now you expect translators wow you need a wake-up call or stop smoking crack.

      • Mary

        Rick I am joking. :)
        I was kinda saying like what was the police officer suppossed to do, call for an interpreter? I think the whole situation is a joke. We can’t have Interpretors of every language with every cop just to make sure they understand the languge.

      • Lenny

        Mary – will you marry me?

  • brian

    you guys are so racist that life will get back at you by killing you and all the corrupted racist “americans” u a-holes…LONG LIVE THE FUTURE OF NATIVES AND INDEGINIOUS PPL U S****D MOTHERF*****S

  • onclewillie

    You are one sick puppy. Is all of this just too much for you?

  • LostAnglrs

    What the real failure in this probe is to take into account to other things that I think are relevant:

    1 – The other officers did not share at that moment the same “defense of life” if not THEY would of also shot at him. They did not have the same “defense of life” sense of the situation.

    2 – The failure to look at closely any indication that Hernandez has, since he is Mexican/American, any issues with Central Americans or that community. Its well known in those communities racist inter-latino discrimination thrown at Central Americans by Mexicans. So you have to wonder if Hernandez had some racial issues that caused him to be trigger happy, a lack of respect for the people he is there to serve.

    Vilaraigosa also has to be held some what accountable, before ANY probe was started immediately without even further information to come to a logical, fair conclusion he stated his unwavering support for the bodies of the LAPD, he said this in spanish.

    Thats not something a city leader should just say, this encourages partiality in any probe committees come to determine becuase it will, politically make the Mayor look …bad.

    And I’ve seen first hand on KCAL I believe it was, where after this event, Villarorigsa said something along the lines, in CONTEMPT, that these “people” “selling their wares on the street”… so Villargosa’s personal perceptions, respect, understanding of that community are from a biased and from looking down on that Central American community.

    But of course, no one investigates or looks at these interesting facts.

  • drozone69

    Maybe if we allowed this American to keep his job,we would not be inundated with third world illegal aliens,But then we would have to fight
    the JDL!!

  • art@yahoo.com

    They should send the family back to where they came from now. I bet this guys plan was to get killed so the state would give the rest of the family millions. We need to make a statement that these people can’t just come here to file lawsuits and try to get free money. They are not hard working they just come for free money.

    We need to stand up and stop just writing. We need to take to the streets and get red of these filthy people.

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