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LAPD officer protected under qualified immunity in 2020 fatal OIS

The suspect, who was on meth, refused Officer Toni McBride’s commands to drop a box cutter as he continued to move toward officers at the scene of a car crash

McBride OIS

Los Angeles Police Department

By Sarah Roebuck

LOS ANGELES — A federal appellate court ruled a Los Angeles police officer involved in a fatal shooting is protected under qualified immunity, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Officer Toni McBride is protected by legal immunity, even in the event of alleged excessive force in the fatal 2020 shooting of Daniel Hernandez, the court ruled.

“[A]lthough a reasonable jury could find that the force employed by McBride was excessive, she is nonetheless entitled to qualified immunity,” Judge Daniel P. Collins wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Hernandez, who was on methamphetamine, had been involved in a multi-vehicle collision when McBride and her partner arrived on the scene, according to the report. Body-worn camera video showed McBride repeatedly telling Hernandez to drop a box cutter that he was holding as he approached the officers on the scene. Hernandez refused to drop the box cutter, leading McBride to fire several shots.

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Several months after the shooting in December 2020, the Los Angeles Police Commission ruled that McBride broke department policy when she continued shooting Hernandez, deciding McBride’s first four shots were justified, but her fifth and sixth shots were not. California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office later cleared McBride of wrongdoing, according to the Los Angeles Times.