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California PO violated policy when he fatally shot 13-year-old boy, says commission

Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES- The civilian commission that oversees the Police Department ruled Tuesday that an officer acted outside policy last year when he fatally shot a 13-year-old boy who rammed a patrol car after a short chase.

The Feb. 6, 2005, shooting of Devin Brown prompted protests in the South Los Angeles area where the shooting occurred and the Police Commission's ruling was being closely watched by community activists who have accused the Los Angeles Police Department of racism.

Brown was black and Officer Steven Garcia, who fired 10 rounds and struck the boy six times, is Hispanic. The commission said he should be punished.

Brown was behind the wheel of a 1990 Toyota Camry that had been reported stolen when he led police on a short chase that ended with a crash into a fence. A teenage passenger fled the car when it crashed, but Brown threw the car in reverse and rammed a patrol car, prompting Garcia to open fire.

The commission's 4-1 vote came after a public comment period in which several speakers urged discipline for Garcia.

The Los Angeles Times, citing anonymous department sources, reported Tuesday that Police Chief William J. Bratton concluded that Garcia acted appropriately.

The district attorney's office last month announced in a 21-page report that no charges would be filed against Garcia. The report was based on police findings, statements by witnesses and scientific tests given to prosecutors.

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