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No Justice for Redel Jones?
By Charlene Muhammad, Contributing Writer
Published July 20, 2016

Family members of Redel Jones and their supporters are still seeking justice, despite the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners finding her officer-involved fatal shooting was justified.

The BOPC ruled officers acted reasonably when they tasered then shot her five times after cornering her in an alley in Baldwin Hills last August 12.

“Based on the totality of the circumstances, the BOPC determined that an officer with similar training and experience … would reasonably believe that the Subject’s actions while armed with a knife presented an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury and, therefore, the use of lethal force would be objectively reasonable,” the Police Commission ruled on July 12.

But the 30-year-old mother did not deserve to die at the hands of police, her husband and activists with Black Lives Matter and other grassroots organizations argued. They rejected the ruling, and charged the officer who shot Jones five times indeed violated the LAPD’s use of force policies during the encounter.

Police said they pursued her after receiving a 911 call from a pharmacy employee, saying their business was robbed by someone with a gun. Police say Jones charged at an officer with a large knife, and one, standing within 10 feet, shot her five times.

 

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However, community activists argued, a witness reported Jones’ back was toward officers when she was shot five times.

“I honestly wish I could say that I came here looking for justice, but you can’t look into the eyes of injustice and expect justice,” said Jones’ husband Marcus Vaughn after the ruling.

He had driven all night to spread the word about who Redel Jones was, he said, during a protest following the ruling.

“She was a beautiful, beautiful intelligent Black woman who did not deserve any of this -the aftermath, the occurrence, she didn’t deserve any of it,” Vaughn said.

“She was one of the best people that I knew,” he continued.

Jones was stripped from her two children, 7 and 13, Vaughn lamented to commissioners.

Jones’ family has filed a $10 million wrongful death claim against the city of Los Angeles.

“As a result of the excessive force, Ms. Jones endured severe pain and suffering and then lost her life and earning capacity,” the claim reads.

“At the time of the officers’ use of excessive force against her, Ms. Jones did not pose a risk of death or serious bodily injury to any person. After the shooting, the involved officers failed to timely provide medical assistance to Ms. Jones, and thereby contributing to her injuries,” the document continued.

Black Lives Matter and other activists continue to protest LAPD shootings of Jones and a litany of others, including Wakeisha Wilson and Ezele Ford.

“LAPD officers killed a woman who was accused of carrying a kitchen knife and of possibly stealing $80,” Dr. Melina Abdullah of Black Lives Matter stated.

The network is calling on Mayor Eric Garcetti to fire Chief Charlie Beck.

“They killed her in cold blood in her own neighborhood, one of our neighborhoods. The reports from the community are that she was running away and shot four or five times in the back, and it didn’t even make into the report,” Abdullah said, referring to initial police reports.

 

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