An officer from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) shot and injured a 15-year-old teenager, who was standing next to a person holding a replica firearm and had it aimed at another person. The boy had received a single gunshot wound on his upper back and was later released after treatment at a nearby hospital.
The incident took place Tuesday when two LAPD officers were driving in the 7200 block of 10th Avenue. They spotted the group, where a person appeared to be pointing a gun at another person. The officers asked them to drop the weapon several times, before shooting and injuring the boy standing next to the person holding the replica gun, LAPD said in a statement Wednesday.
Force Investigation Division officials will probe the case, which will be reviewed by the chief of police, the office of the inspector general and the board of police commissioners. Officials will determine whether the police officers complied with the department's use-of-force policy, which states the use of such force should be “objectively reasonable.”
"It’s certainly an unfortunate situation," Cmdr. Andrew Smith, police department spokesperson said, according to the Los Angeles Times, adding: "But because of people bringing replica weapons out like that, it certainly could have been a terrible tragedy."
No arrests were made but the officers involved in the shooting have been removed from field until a primary investigation is completed into the incident. The person, who was holding the duplicate gun, could be charged with brandishing a replica weapon in the presence of a police officer. However, investigators are still discussing this option with the prosecutors, LA Times reported, citing Smith.
The case comes amid increased focus on the use of excessive force by U.S. police officers, triggered by last year's shooting of black teenager Michael Brown in Missouri and the chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York.