More than 300 people packed an elementary school auditorium in Venice Thursday night to denounce the LAPD shooting of an unarmed homeless black man Tuesday, comparing it to other high-profile videotaped police shootings across the nation.
The meeting was called by LAPD officials one day after Police Chief Charlie Beck said surveillance tape of the shooting doesn't appear to justify the killing of Bre Glenn, 29, outside a bar near the corner of Pacific and Winward Avenues, just a block from the famous Venice boardwalk.
“We are hear to listen,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Bea Girmala, who commands officers in Venice.
"We still have challenges," Girmala conceded. "We still have a long way to go."
Soon she was angrily shouted down.
“Where’s the video,” one man shouted. “It was murder,” bellowed another man. The video has not been released.
At another point, LAPD Inspector General Alex Bustamante was shouted down when he sought to assure the crowd he’d conduct an independent investigation.
Beck has said officers were responding to reports of a man harassing people when the altercation occurred at about 11:30pm Tuesday. The next afternoon, he held a press conference to say he was “very concerned” about it.
But few details of the killing have emerged.
A source familiar with the investigation who has seen the video but is not unauthorized to talk about it said it shows an “animated exchange” between Glenn and people outside a bar. Then two LAPD officers enter the screen and wrestle him to the ground.
“It looks like he is resisting,” the source said.
“One officer then gets up, takes a few steps back, pulls out his gun and pop, pop.”
The other officer was still holding onto Glenn and “clearly looked stunned.”
Neither officer has been identified.
A man who said he first met Glenn three weeks ago on the Venice Boardwalk, Paris Edwards, 45, told KPCC he was about ten feet away sitting against a wall when the shooting happened and said he, too, saw the officer shoot him in the chest from "a few feet away."
He said the officer was asking for Glenn's identification.
He said Glenn arrived in Venice only about a month ago from New York. He described Glenn as a guy who drank and “every so often had some problems.”
But he also said Glenn “one of the nicest guys I’ve met.”
Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents the area, sought to address the broader issue of homelessness during the town hall meeting. Some appreciated the effort, saying police needed to be accompanied by mental health experts. Others in the crowd booed Bonin.
“One of the reasons the crowd is so angry is that we’re seeing a lot of deflection,” said Shaun Janoschka. “We don’t want to center this issue around mental illness or homelessness. It’s a police abuse problem.”
“Its civil terrorism,” said Corey Gowan, 27, who is homeless.
Nicole Lucas Haimes, 55, is a longtime resident of Venice. She said the LAPD has improved over the years.
“There’s been an effort to change,” she said. “But its not been fast enough and its not been far enough.”
Correction: A previous version of this story identified Brendon Glenn using an incorrect first name. It also incorrectly identified the date of his death in one caption. KPCC regrets the errors.