Controversial LAPD Incident: Officer Breaks Policy Using Police Car to Subdue Knife-Wielding Man

Los Angeles – February 17, 2024

Controversial LAPD Incident

In a disturbing turn of events, two Los Angeles police officers attempted to intervene as their colleague deliberately used a department SUV to strike a knife-wielding man, violating LAPD policy. The incident, which occurred last February in North Hollywood, involved Officer Oswaldo Pedemonte and 31-year-old Jonathan Mitrani.

The civilian Police Commission, following Chief Michel Moore’s recommendation and an internal LAPD review board, ruled that Pedemonte’s actions were a clear breach of policy. Pedemonte intentionally drove into Mitrani at a slow speed, causing him to fall to the ground. Before this, Mitrani had been advancing towards the police vehicle armed with a knife, following a slow procession along Burbank Boulevard where officers had used a stun gun and a projectile launcher on him.

Chief Moore’s report indicated that Mitrani did not pose an immediate threat to Pedemonte, who was safely positioned in his police vehicle with the windows rolled up. The review board asserted that Pedemonte could have driven away if he felt endangered, emphasizing that the LAPD does not train officers to use vehicles as impact weapons.

The incident originated from a 911 call reporting Mitrani’s violation of facility rules after showing up drunk and after curfew. A subsequent police backup request described Mitrani as having a knife and appearing suicidal. Despite attempts to engage him, Mitrani ignored commands and walked away, leading to the controversial encounter.

Chief Moore’s report also revealed a delay in activating body cameras by four officers involved in the incident. Pedemonte’s earlier use of a Taser was deemed within policy, but the review board unanimously condemned his decision to use the police vehicle as an impact weapon.

While some officers’ actions during the incident were found to be within LAPD policy or justified, those found in violation could face discipline ranging from reprimands to termination. Discipline proposals are protected by privacy laws and can be appealed before the LAPD’s Board of Rights, with further appeals possible in state court.

According to department rules, officers must intervene when witnessing unreasonable force. In this case, Officer Geovanny Salazar and Sgt. Joseph Fleming attempted to intervene, shouting for Pedemonte to stop.

Pedemonte, fearing being trapped inside the vehicle, explained in an interview with LAPD’s investigative unit that he decided to use the vehicle as an impact weapon without intending to run over Mitrani.

This incident adds to the ongoing debate surrounding the use of force by law enforcement, highlighting the importance of adhering to established policies and the duty to intervene when witnessing potential misconduct. The LAPD’s response and the subsequent disciplinary actions will be closely monitored as the department addresses this controversial episode.

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