LAPD facing likely suit over fatal shooting of man with knife undergoing mental crisis

Rob Hayes Image
Saturday, January 14, 2023
LAPD facing likely suit over fatal shooting of man with knife
EMBED <>More Videos

The family of a man fatally shot by LAPD officers last week is demanding the DA prosecute the officers involved and plans to file a lawsuit.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The family of a man shot and killed by LAPD officers last week is demanding the Los Angeles County District Attorney prosecute the officers involved and plans to sue the city and the police department.

Officers confronted Takar Smith in the kitchen of his estranged wife on Jan. 2. An attorney for the Smith family says that Takar's wife, Shameka Smith, had gone to LAPD's Rampart Division station earlier in the day, and told them that he suffered from mental illness and that she had a restraining order against him.

"She walked to the police station, showed video of her husband having this mental crisis," said Eric Valenzuela, attorney for the family. "She was trying to prevent the officers from just arriving at her house, aggressive, guns blazing."

But no mental health experts were contacted, as Police Chief Michel Moore even pointed out in a news conference earlier this week.

"At no point during this call was our mental evaluation unit called for assistance or support," Moore said Wednesday.

Smith's shooting was just one of three deaths linked to LAPD responses last week. The Smith family is asking the city to pay for Takar's burial costs and say they plan to file a lawsuit.

Smith's family members joined members of the Coalition for Community Control Over the Police at a news conference outside LAPD headquarters Friday. That group is condemning LAPD for killing the father of six.

"This is a pattern and practice of brutality and terrorism by police officers in every department in Los Angeles and across this country," said the coalition's Cliff Smith (no relation to Takar Smith). "We're specifically demanding District Attorney Gascón prosecute these officers."

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón says it will take some time before his office decides whether to file any charges.

"We were allowed to review a portion of the body-worn footage and are now waiting to receive the results of the investigation from law enforcement," Gascón said in a written statement. "Once we receive the investigation we will review the case and conduct our own independent investigation and analysis of the available evidence."