West Edition

Commission clears officer in fatal shooting last summer

LOS ANGELES — The Police Commission cleared an officer April 18 in the fatal shooting of an armed parolee attempting to flee in Hyde Park.

Keith Bursey’s family has questioned the circumstances of the shooting and members of the Black Lives Matter movement also focused on it during protests at City Hall last summer while saying the killing was unjustified.

The commission agreed on a 5-0 vote with Police Chief Charlie Beck that Officer Charles Kumlander acted reasonably and within department policy when he shot Bursey.

According to Beck’s report on the incident, the shooting occurred on “hood day,” which is a day of celebration for the Rollin’ 60s street gang, and the parking lot where the shooting took place was a known spot where gang members hang out.

Kumlander and his partner reported that as they approached a parked car in the lot near Brynhurst Avenue and Slauson Avenue on June 10 around 8:25 p.m. they smelled marijuana and directed the car’s three occupants to get out.

When one officer patted Bursey down he felt a handgun in his waistband, and Bursey immediately broke free of the officer’s grip and tried to run away, according to the report, which did not specify which officer patted Bursey down because their names were redacted.

Kumlander reported that Bursey turned with his hand going toward his waistband area where the gun was, so he drew his gun and fired three or four rounds at him from about eight feet away. Bursey was transported to California Hospital Medial Center but was pronounced dead.

The LAPD previously stated that a loaded .38 caliber handgun was recovered from the scene and that Bursey was a documented gang member who was wanted for a parole violation.

Bursey’s daughter filed a lawsuit against the city in January that claimed he was not armed during the encounter. Bursey’s grandmother, Mary Williams, also spoke during the commission meeting and said he was not armed and was running away when he was shot.