The Los Angeles Police Department on Monday released edited footage of the fatal shooting of a woman by police near a freeway overpass in Silver Lake last month. It shows officers shouting orders to the woman and then opening fire after she raised a shotgun in her direction.
A preliminary LAPD investigation found that several of the officers’ shots may have fallen into a nearby group of homeless people’s tents.
The graphic videos, posted to the department’s YouTube page, showed officers wheeling toward Mariela Cardenas, shining their police cruiser’s headlight on her as she jogged down the sidewalk.
A male officer is heard yelling, “Hey, hands up!” as he jumped out of the cruiser.
His partner called out, “Hey, hands up! Now!”
She began repeating, “Put your hands…” but is interrupted by the sound of gunshots.
The videos provide a clearer view of the Feb. 22 incident, which came under intense scrutiny online by anti-police violence activists after the department identified one of the officers involved in the shooting: Jacqueline McBride, a affiliate of the Los Angeles Police Protective League Outspoken Vice President.
McBride and the other two officers involved — Miguel Salazar and Preston Moseby — are back on the job after taking several days of paid administrative leave, in accordance with department guidelines.
An LAPD spokeswoman said Monday she could not comment on the details of the incident as it is still under investigation.
“Any time we lose a life it is always tragic and we send our condolences to the family,” said Police Captain Kelly Muniz.
Officers from the department’s Rampart Division responded to multiple 911 calls about a woman in a trench coat pointing a gun at passers-by in the area around Silver Lake Boulevard and Temple Street, according to a police report of the incident. The calls came in just before 8 p.m
McBride and her partner encountered Cardenas, who matched the suspect’s description, near an overpass off the 101 freeway, police said. As she passed them, they jumped out of their squad car and began yelling at her to drop her gun.
The third officer involved in the shooting arrived in a separate vehicle.
They assumed Cardenas was holding a revolver, according to the footage, a compilation of video from body-worn and dashboard cameras. Cardenas ignored the orders and continued to the overpass.
In one of the police videos, Cardenas appears to be turning back to the officers and holding out her right arm. Almost immediately, officers opened fire and Cardenas fell to the sidewalk. The object in her hand clattered onto the street.
After handcuffing her, officers attempted to revive Cardenas. She was taken in an ambulance to LA County-USC Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead, police said.
It was only later that officers saw that she was holding what appeared to be a revolver, according to a photo on the LAPD website. It had a black barrel and a tan grip.
The shooting happened within eight seconds of officers stumbling upon Cardenas.
The The incident is being investigated by LAPD investigators, who are considering factors such as whether officers should reasonably have assumed Cardenas was armed and whether, knowing she was standing near a homeless encampment, they should have fired.
The results are eventually presented to the LAPD’s civilian oversight commission. Such investigations usually take several months to a year.
At least one or two of the police bullets may have struck two tents near the overpass, according to a search warrant request from Frank Marino, a detective with the department’s Force Investigations Division.
The warrant requested a judge’s permission to search the two tents for bloodied clothing, spent bullet casings and a red jacket with obvious bullet holes, which officers observed from outside the tent.
Marino wrote in the warrant application that two holes found in the tents tested positive for lead, suggesting they were caused by bullets.
It was not clear if anyone was in the tents at the time of the shooting.
The incident drew widespread criticism online after the department revealed McBride was involved. She became the third member of her immediate family to shoot someone while on duty.
Her father, Jamie McBride, the controversial union official, was involved in at least six non-fatal police shootings in the first 11 years of his career. His other daughter, Toni McBride — a hot-shooting Instagram influencer and model who joined the LAPD in 2017 — fatally shot Daniel Hernandez in south Los Angeles in 2020 after he advanced on her with a knife.
After a months-long internal investigation, the Police Commission determined that Toni’s use of deadly force was justified, but that the last two of her six shots were not within policy.
She was later acquitted of wrongdoing in a separate investigation by the California Atty office. General Rob Bonta, who investigates most police shootings of unarmed civilians. But the verdict was met with skepticism because it was based, among other things, on the analysis of a police violence consultant whose work has been criticized as illegitimate for years.
Unlike her better-known relatives, Jacqueline McBride seems to shun the limelight.
Little is known about Cardenas, and attempts to reach her relatives through a GoFundMe page set up to help pay for funeral expenses have been unsuccessful. A tribute video posted online to the rousing horns of La Adictiva’s “Mi Último Día” said she was “a mother, a daughter, she was a sister, she was a friend”.
It’s not clear if she was homeless, as some news reports and attorneys have suggested. Public records show that a person by her name lived at an address on the 500 block of Rampart Boulevard — about a mile south of where the shooting took place.
Times contributor Richard Winton contributed to this report.
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