Mariela Cardenas Died In Los Angeles Police Department Shooting While Holding Pellet Gun on Silver Lake Boulevard By Temple Street
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (March 28, 2023) – A 42-year-old woman identified as Mariela Cardenas has tragically died in a Los Angeles Police Department shooting on the Temple Street overpass, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Los Angeles Police Department officials are claiming that they received reports about a woman pointing a handgun at people passing by the area. Officers were called to the area and saw Mariela Cardenas running down the street with what appeared to be a handgun.
At some point during the encounter police officers opened fire and shot Mariela Cardenas. Paramedics were called to the scene in order to help the woman.
Despite life-saving measures from first responders, she died due to the severe nature of her injuries. Police officers later discovered that the ‘gun’ she was holding was only a CO2 powered replica pellet gun.
Police officer body camera footage of the incident has been released and a full investigation remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Los Angeles Police Department Shootings
The LAPD has a long and sordid history of deadly police shootings. According to the Los Angeles Times, “LAPD officers had shot at least 37 people in 2021, killing 17 of them — substantially more than they shot or killed in either of the last two years. They have killed four people recently, with two men killed in separate incidents on Saturday, and one man on Christmas Eve.” People suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed by police than members of the general population. There are a number of steps that police departments should take in order to help prevent police shootings.
- Police officers should receive ample training so that they can identify when a suspect is in the midst of a mental health crisis.
- Police officers should be able to de-escalate encounters with unstable suspects.
- Police officers should be equipped with less lethal measures such as pepper spray and tasers.
Police officers must do everything in their power to avoid seriously injuring or killing suspects. According to California Penal Code 835a. (1), all officers must respect the dignity and sanctity of human life. In general, deadly force may only be used when necessary to defend human life. If a Los Angeles police officer uses excessive force, their employer could face vicarious liability. The pre-shooting decisions of an officer could render their decision to use lethal force unreasonable, even if their actions appeared reasonable in the moment. For example, an officer may have failed to follow police protocol for dealing with mentally ill suspects.
An officer’s “failure to follow a safety rule promulgated by his employer, regardless of its substance, serves as evidence of negligence.” See, for example, Grudt, 468 P.2d at 831 (citation omitted); see also People v. Brown, 245 Cal. App. 4th 140, 171 (Ct. App. 2016). When an officer encounters a mentally ill suspect they are required to (1) request backup, (2) calm the situation, (3) avoid physical contact, (4) determine if the suspect is taking medication, (5) acknowledge the suspect’s feelings and (6) not make any threats. Every police encounter is different and must be investigated thoroughly.
- Police officer body camera footage should be reviewed
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- The pre-shooting decisions of police officers should be understood.
- A thorough investigation should be conducted.
Being a police officer can be an incredibly dangerous job that is very stressful. Officers tend to make poor choices when they are under stress. But this can be mitigated with extensive training. Many fatal police encounters can be prevented when officers are properly trained. The family of any person that is killed in a police shooting can seek some measure of justice through a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating A Los Angeles Police Department Shooting
We at the Carrillo Law Firm, LLP extend our deepest condolences to the family of Mariela Cardenas. The number of fatal encounters with LAPD in recent years has been deeply concerning. Any person that may have more information about what happened should speak with investigators. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to prevent other tragedies like this.
Do you need more information about a Los Angeles Police Department shooting? Our team of civil rights advocates are here for you. We care deeply that victims of excessive force are aware of their rights and those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support after any incident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-799-9375.