Brendon Glenn, 29, was shot to death during a May 5 confrontation near the Venice boardwalk

By Gary Walker

The Los Angeles police officer who shot an unarmed homeless man to death last year during a confrontation on the Venice boardwalk may be facing criminal charges if LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has his way.

Beck told the Los Angeles Times this week that an internal investigation has concluded 29-year-old Brendon Glenn was on his stomach when LAPD officer Clifford Proctor shot him twice in the back on May 5 outside The Townhouse & Del Monte Speakeasy on Windward Avenue.

The shooting, one of 21 fatal shootings by LAPD officers last year, was captured on security video that has not been publicly released.

Beck is recommending that the L.A. County District Attorney’s office file criminal charges against Proctor, whose attorney could not be reached for this story.

Officer Tony Kim of LAPD’S Media Relations confirmed Beck’s statements.

Beck further told the Times that he believes the majority of officer-involved shootings are justified, but “in those much rarer cases where a shooting is not justified — and on top of that, not legal — I will also say that.”

Glenn’s death ignited an immediate flood of criticism by Venice locals, some alleging systemic police mistreatment of the homeless in Venice. Police and other public officials faced outright hostility from an overflow crowd of hundreds during a town hall meeting called a week after the shootings.

Reaction to Beck’s call for charges against Proctor has come swiftly.

L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents Venice, said Beck spoke with him prior to announcing his decision to the Times.

“I saw the videotape after the shooting, and I have to say that I support [Chief Beck’s] decision and the recommendation,” Bonin said.

The decision of whether to prosecute Proctor now rests with L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement emailed to The Argonaut that he  hopes Lacey will weigh Beck’s recommendation carefully.

“As the district attorney reviews this case, my hope is that Chief Beck’s recommendation is considered with the utmost gravity. No one is above the law, and whenever use-of-force crosses the line it is our obligation to make sure that principle is upheld,” wrote Garcetti. “Our officers perform heroic work every day, work that often goes unheralded. But accountability is fundamental to the trust that needs to exist between our officers and the people they serve — and maintaining that trust is essential to keeping our neighborhoods safe.”

Lacey said she would not be swayed by anything other than the evidence.

“As the county’s top prosecutor, it is my ethical obligation to remain impartial until a thorough and independent investigation is completed by my office. Decisions on whether or not to file criminal charges will be based solely on the facts and the law — not on emotion, anger or external pressure,” she wrote in an email statement to The Argonaut.

Reaction in Venice has been generally supportive of Beck.

“I’m pleased we finally have word on the matter and am terribly saddened by [Beck’s conclusion] that the police officer violated his oath. Too often we hear of these violations without warrant. I hope to see common-sense change within our Los Angeles Police Department and that our justice system upholds the law,” said Venice Neighborhood Council member Abigail Myers, who attended the town hall meeting.

Stan Muhammad, a gang intervention specialist with the nonprofit Helper Foundation (formerly Venice 2000), called Beck’s announcement a step in the right direction.

“The national narrative [surrounding officer-involved shootings] is that law enforcement is above the law, so hearing that the officer who killed Brendon will be held accountable is good news,” he said.