Editorial: You owe another $5 for excessive force by L.A. County sheriff’s deputies. Pay up, sheriff’s department. (Jan. 17)
L.A. County sheriff’s deputies were justified in shooting into a group of unarmed African-Americans early Monday because of racial hostility, the Los Angeles County district attorney said.
Sheriff Lee Baca released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying deputies were justified in their shooting of a man and another man about 8:50 a.m. when deputies responded to a disturbance at a home near the intersection of Pico and Sepulveda boulevards. During the altercation, the deputies said, the men punched and kicked each other.
Shortly after the altercation, the man identified as Daniel Solis, 31, and a man identified as Jeremy Johnson, 27, “charged at each other to the point that one of the men was grabbing Solis’s fist,” Baca said. “The other man was grabbing Johnson’s wrist, and Solis was trying to pull away from the other man.
“Deputies were attempting to separate them and had moved towards the first suspect and were blocking the second suspect when they were shot at,” he said.
The deputies said that Johnson had a “long grudge” against Solis; in fact, at one point, Johnson had told witnesses a shooting was imminent.
Solis refused to back off and that is why he was shot, Baca’s office said in a statement. “When the deputies moved in to make the arrest, Solis lunged toward the second suspect and tried to swing at him. While Solis was reaching for the second man, the first suspect turned his body and swung his fist. The force of the swing caused the deputy to shoot both the first suspect and Solis,” the statement said.
No deputies were injured, Baca said.
Both men were pronounced dead at the scene. Solis and Johnson were in their 20s, with Solis having an extensive criminal record, including at least two arrests for assault with a deadly weapon, Baca said.