LAPD reviews arrest of knife-wielding suspect disarmed after being struck by cruiser
Officers hit suspect several times with bean bag rounds and used a TASER twice but they did not have any effect
By Josh Cain
LOS ANGELES — Internal investigators are reviewing an encounter last week in North Hollywood between Los Angeles Police Department officers and a man holding a knife who apparently was under the influence of a drug, in which one of the officers hit the man with his cruiser to get him to surrender.
The officer accelerated his vehicle to "3 to 5 miles per hour" to strike 31-year-old Jonathan Mitrani, who the department claimed was coming at another officer with a four-inch blade in his hand on Wednesday, Feb. 8 in the 5600 block of Denny Avenue.
The officers were there after someone called 9-1-1 reporting a man with a knife. When the officers got there, they found the caller standing near Mitrani. The officers said they spotted the knife in Mitrani's hand.
Mitrani was able to stand up immediately after the officer hit him with the vehicle, with the other officer on foot then taking Mitrani back to the ground and arresting him.
Mitrani, who apparently was not seriously injured despite being hit with a car, was then taken to a hospital, where he was treated for "excessive vomiting," symptoms that LAPD Chief Michel Moore said was the result of Mitrani having taken a drug.
Moore described the incident in Tuesday's Police Commission meeting. He said the officers' takedown of Mitrani would be reviewed under the same rules for the department's investigations of shootings and other uses of force that could cause serious injury or death.
The chief did not say in the meeting whether LAPD rules permit officers to hit belligerent people with their vehicles. But nothing in LAPD's use-of-force policy updated in 2020 specifically bans the use of a cruiser to subdue someone.
Regardless, the use of vehicles against people the department is trying to arrest remains rare. The arrest and use of force against Mitrani was categorized as "lethal force, other" in LAPD's code for such incidents. This was the only incident to get that label since at least 2021, according to a review of LAPD records. Records before 2021 tracking this type of use of force were not immediately available Tuesday.
Before hitting Mitrani with the cruiser, the officers shot him multiple times with bean bag rounds from a shotgun. They also used a stun gun at least twice on Mitrani, Moore said.
One of the officers fired the bean-bag shotgun at Mitrani as he ran on Burbank Boulevard. Moore said none of the shots from the officers' less-lethal weapons appeared to have any effect on the man.
Once they hit with him the car, the officers were able to disarm Mitrani, Moore said.
Video footage of the encounter has not yet been released. Moore said the video would be released in the same way LAPD publishes video of shootings and other violent actions by its officers. LAPD is required to release video of such encounters within 45 days.
One of the officers had "abrasions" on his body after the encounter with Mitrani, Moore said. But he did not describe in detail whether Mitrani physically attacked any of the officers. Still, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said Mitrani was charged with one count of assault on an officer. He is expected to appear in court in Van Nuys on Wednesday.
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