Inglewood Mayor James Butts spoke with KCAL News on Wednesday, discussing his thoughts on body-worn cameras for police officers after a man with schizophrenia was fatally shot last week.
Family members of Ivan Solis Mora, the 34-year-old man who was shot and killed by officers last Thursday, spoke before city council members on Tuesday, making an emotional case for why officers should be equipped with body cameras.
They're asking for city leaders to release the names of those involved in the shooting and demanding "accountability and justice" for what they're saying was a wrongful death.
"It was not something that should have been difficult to handle," said Mora's aunt, Maria, in Spanish. "When he saw police were heading to attack him, he went inside the home and brought a tube. Police, instead of handling the situation by talking, they begin shooting at him multiple times."
As it stands, police maintain that Mora was "brandishing a knife" in front of the house and "behaving erratically," which prompted family members to contact them in the first place.
While the investigation continues, Mayor Butts says that body cameras wouldn't have made much of a difference in the incident's outcome.
"Now, it's not going to change anything, to have video of what happened," said Butts, who had an extensive career in law enforcement before turning to politics. "Because it's not going to bring anybody back."
Activists say that cameras would give a full story for the events that transpired so quickly last week, completely changing their world in just minutes.
"It's very trite for him to say a body-worn camera won't bring Ivan back," said Cliff Smith with the Coalition of Community Control Over the Police. "The family does not need to be told that. It could provide them with the truth of what happened, whatever truth that might tell. All there is, is what the officers' version of what happened."
Family members say that they had to call police for help with Mora in the past, but force was never required. They're desperate to know why this time was different.
"Body cameras are not a be all end all," Butts said. "A well-trained, well-disciplined police force with the reverence for life — that's what you need in our communities."
Neighbors living nearby say that they didn't hear much before Mora was shot.
"If anybody was yelling demands or anything I would've heard everything from this side," said Rodney Williams, who lives in an apartment overlooking the spot where the shooting occurred with Desiree Ceballos.
They say that last week's incident only strengthens their desire for officers to wear cameras.
"Especially in these case, especially with the mental health cases," Ceballos said. "A lot of them need to be equipped on how to handle certain situations."
Butts says the ultimate decision would fall to him and the Inglewood police chief on whether they want the equipment, a decision that would then have to be approved by city council members. As of now, he says he would rather focus on training and culture for law enforcement officers.
A Department of Justice report found mixed results on the effectiveness of body-worn cameras in 2022, with analysts simply implying that additional research would be needed to report an accurate outcome.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office is performing an independent investigation on the shooting.
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