Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Wences v. City of Los Angeles (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 2, 2009)

There are lots of police misconduct/shooting cases in which the officer has acted pretty egregiously. But I gotta say that what Officer Cesar Wences did here seems relatively reasonable to me.

I'm glad that his discipline was slight, and that the official reprimand he received didn't stop him from getting a promotion. I'm sure the entire process has frustrated him, thereby resulting in his overblown (in my mind) rhetoric that he has an absolute right to defend himself by shooting near people -- one which the LAPD can't regulate or even attempt to discipline. But even though I don't agree with that extreme view, I can't say that I think what he did here was unreasonable. Is it what I'd have done? Probably not. But it still seems within the bounds.

As to the law, Justice Zelon gets this right, and remands for an independent determination by the trial court. My hope -- at least from the facts revealed in the opinion -- is that the court ultimately reverses the reprimand.