COMPTON — A man fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy here July 28 was not involved in the carjacking that preceded the shooting and did not assault deputies, the Sheriff’s Department reported Aug. 9.
According to the department, the carjacking suspect — who was arrested — led authorities on a car chase to the neighborhood in which Donnell Thompson Jr., 27, was fatally shot.
Authorities originally said Thompson was shot after he “charged” at Special Enforcement Bureau deputies.
Thompson’s oldest sister, Matrice Stanley, told reporters outside the Hall of Administration that her brother’s “mentality was like a 16-year-old.”
Stanley, a 44-year-old nurse from Victorville, said she believed that race had played a role in her little brother’s killing.
“Why would SWAT and dogs have to surround a man” who weighed 130 pounds and stood about 5 feet 3 inches tall?” she asked.
Video of the confrontation is not very clear, according to Dawn Modkins of Black Lives Matter, who said that the family’s lawyers — from The Cochran Firm — will decide when and if to release it.
The Sheriff’s Department is conducting “an exhaustive review of the sequence of events that unfolded in the hours after a vehicle carjacked in the city of Los Angeles was driven to Compton,” according to a statement released Aug. 9.
“Deputies in pursuit of the vehicle were fired upon by the driver, who subsequently crashed the vehicle and fled into a neighborhood. This review includes the sequence of events that led up to the deputy-involved shooting of … Donnell Thompson which took place after our deputies had been assaulted,” the statement said.
“The primary objective of this investigation has been to determine whether Mr. Thompson had a role in the carjacking incident and the assault on our deputies,” the statement said. “We have determined that there is no evidence that Mr. Thompson was in the carjacked vehicle, nor that he was involved in the assault on the deputies.”
The chain of events leading to the fatal shooting began early July 28 when deputies patrolling on Alameda Street stopped a motorist for a traffic violation. A check of the vehicle’s license plate indicated the vehicle had been stolen, the Sheriff’s Department reported.
The motorist sped off, and deputies chased the vehicle to the 2000 block of Slater Avenue. Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau personnel were sent to the scene, and authorities began conducting a search of the neighborhood. The carjacking suspect was arrested.
“Deputies encountered Mr. Thompson shortly after the carjacking suspect who had opened fire on our deputies was arrested,” the statement said.
“Deputies were alerted to Mr. Thompson by a neighborhood resident who discovered him lying in his yard and called 911. This was contemporaneous to the final stages of the search for and arrest of the carjacking suspect in the same neighborhood.
“Mr. Thompson was lying in a position that concealed one of his hands from view and was unresponsive to numerous commands.
“There was a concern that he may be armed, and may be connected to the carjacking suspect who had fired on the deputies.”
Noting that Aug. 9 was the second anniversary of Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, Modkins and Mark-Anthony Johnson of Dignity and Power Now called for the Board of Supervisors to push plans forward for a civilian oversight commission.
“Our police and our sheriff’s department can no longer be allowed to police themselves,” Modkins said.
Johnson said subpoena power was critical to quickly sorting out the facts behind deadly confrontations.
“We want subpoena power … to demand information legally … and not have to wait years and years for answers,” Johnson said.
Family and friends also faulted the media for jumping to conclusions about Thompson, who they said had no criminal record and was a shy and soft-spoken man.
“What the media’s portraying him to be … they don’t know him … they didn’t talk to people who know him,” said Danielle Moore, who attended El Camino College Compton Center with Thompson, who went by the nickname “BoPeep.”
Moore said Thompson was a “non-confrontational person, he was non-violent.”
Thompson’s older brother Dwayne Hill said he wanted to “make sure my brother’s name is being cleared” and was among those demanding a public apology.