The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Division launched physique digital camera footage Friday exhibiting the moments main as much as a deputy fatally taking pictures a 27-year-old Black girl in Lancaster.
Niani Finlayson, who authorities mentioned was armed with a kitchen knife, was shot in entrance of her 9-year-old daughter on Dec. 4. She had known as the police for assist throughout a home dispute with a person authorities described as her boyfriend.
The footage launched Friday exhibits that the deputy who shot her was first handed a Taser, however he dropped it and fired a handgun as a substitute.
Investigators are persevering with to overview the case, which is predicted to be despatched to the district lawyer’s workplace to find out if any costs can be filed.
“Any time a life is misplaced, whatever the circumstances, is a tough time for everybody concerned,” L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna mentioned in an announcement. “The division launched the body-worn digital camera footage forward of the authorized timeframe to reveal our dedication to transparency and the visible illustration of the information on this case. As the excellent overview course of continues, the division will achieve further perception into the incident with the objective of bettering public security.”
Shortly after 6 p.m. on Dec. 4, Finlayson known as 911 to report that her boyfriend wouldn’t depart her Lancaster house, authorities mentioned. Throughout a frantic name with a police dispatcher, audio of which was launched together with the physique digital camera footage, Finlayson mentioned the person wouldn’t depart her home or “get his palms off of me.”
Three deputies heard screaming as they approached the house within the 2100 block of East Avenue J-8. Physique digital camera video exhibits one of many deputies trying to kick within the entrance door.
The door opens and Finlayson seems — holding what authorities say was an 8-inch kitchen knife.
“I’m going to stab him,” she will be heard telling the deputies earlier than transferring out of sight towards the lounge.
The physique digital camera video exhibits a deputy, recognized by the division as Ty Shelton, coming into the house intently behind one other deputy. On his method in, Shelton asks the opposite deputy to provide him a Taser.
After deputies moved into the house, Finlayson will be seen standing subsequent to a person, with one hand on him and the opposite showing to carry a knife. Shelton drops the Taser , raises his handgun and fires 4 photographs at Finlayson.
The person then yells, “Why did you shoot?”
Finlayson was taken to a hospital the place she later died. The person was arrested on suspicion of kid abuse and assault on a peace officer however was later launched, in line with the sheriff’s division.
Shelton didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Finlayson’s household filed a declare final week signaling they plan to sue the county and the division for $30 million.
“She was not partaking in any sort of bodily threatening habits in any respect,” Bradley Gage, the household’s lawyer, mentioned at a information convention Dec. 21. “In actual fact, she was the sufferer.”
Shelton was concerned in not less than one different deadly taking pictures in Lancaster, in line with county information. In 2020, Shelton killed 62-year-old Michael Thomas as he and one other deputy tried to detain him throughout a home violence name.
The deputies mentioned Thomas tried to seize one in all their weapons. His fiancee disputed that, telling an area TV station that Thomas had refused to let the deputies enter the home and was turning away from them when he was shot.
Prosecutors declined to file costs in opposition to Shelton in that case, county information present, although they acknowledged “there might have been different affordable choices obtainable” to him as a substitute of killing Thomas.
The union representing L.A. County sheriff’s deputies urged the general public to permit for a radical investigation earlier than coming to any closing conclusions.
“This was clearly a tragic consequence, an consequence attributable to a violent and extremely risky state of affairs in that house that night time,” Richard Pippin, president of the Assn. for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs mentioned in an emailed assertion Friday.
“Our deputy discovered himself confronted with a girl who threatened to stab somebody and was then poised, knife in hand, to hold out that risk. This video exemplifies the profound challenges and no-win conditions our deputies regularly face. The true motives of teams or people who jumped out with outrageous assertions earlier than even seeing the video ought to be obvious to everybody.”