(Reuters) – The Los Angeles Police Commission ruled late Tuesday that two officers violated the department’s use of deadly force policy when they fired their final shots into a man already shot and prone on a shopping mall floor, media reported.
The two officers – Sgt. Ryan Lee and Officer Martin Robles -now face disciplinary procedures and possible criminal charges from the LA County district attorney’s office, the Los Angeles Times and other media reported.
The decision from the five-member civilian board comes at a time of a hightened national debate and numerous protests over the use of lethal force by law enforcement, especially against black men.
Grechario Mack, 30, who was black, died April 10 from injuries of multiple gunshots after he brandished a foot-long kitchen knife in a crowded shopping mall, the Times reported.
Police officers said that they initially shot Mack when he refused to drop the knife, then turned and started toward a crowded store, media reported.
The officers said they fired the final shots after Mack tried to get up and that he appeared to be reaching for the knife, the Sacramento Bee reported.
The commission ruled that neither the officers nor civilians were in imminent danger when the final shots were fired, media reported.
Mack’s mother danced and prayed after the ruling, holding a heart-shaped container of her son’s ashes, the Times reported.
The ruling comes weeks after the California’s attorney general concluded that two Sacramento officers had sound reason to believe the man they shot dead, Stephon Clark, 22, posed a lethal threat to them.
Clark, who was black, was holding a cell phone in his grandmother’s yard when he was fatally shot last year.
Numerous large protests were held in front of Sacramento’s city hall and police department after the March 5 decision, including one that saw more than 80 protesters arrested or given citations for failure to disperse.
There were no reports of public demonstrations overnight in Los Angeles after ruling of Mack’s case.
Neither a spokesperson for Mack’s family nor the officer’s attorneys were immediately available for comment.
Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Andrew Heavens