In July, a man named Gene Evin Atkins led LAPD officers on a 14-minute long car chase. After crashing his car, he held shoppers and employees in a Silver Lake Trader Joe’s hostage for hours.
In the middle of those two events, Atkins got into a shoot-out with the LAPD. One of the bullets fired by an officer hit Melyda Corado – Mely – the store manager. By the time the hostage situation ended, and Atkins was arrested, Mely Corado was dead. We know some of how these events came to be not only from witness statements and social media posts, but because of footage recorded by dashcams in the officers’ car and their body cams. The proof, as they say, is in the tape.
So why won’t the LAPD release all of their footage? Why won’t they give Mely Corado’s family, as well as everyone else, the raw videos captured by the cameras, by the helicopters above, and by the store’s security cameras?
Instead, the LAPD has released two slick, highly-produced videos – complete with slow-motion views and voice narration – neither of which shows Mely being shot by a police officer. To add further insult, the LAPD has refused to release Mely’s autopsy, and have refused to answer why they ordered a toxicology report on her body. Ron Rosengarten, who is representing the family along with John Taylor, told KTLA 5 “We have not heard a reasonable explanation for why toxicology tests were ordered for her.”
A disturbing lack of transparency
The LAPD has claimed that they have released the two videos so far in the interest in transparency. But if that were true, why do the videos look more like professionally produced films than in-the-moment videos? “Rather than act in a spirit of transparency,” Mr. Taylor said at a press conference, the police “have turned it into a public relations effort to shine the most favorable light on the actions of the officers that were involved in this shooting. They want to control the narrative,” reports the Chicago Sun Times.
As Mr. Taylor explained to KTLA 5, “the officers in the pursuit car had no tactical plan, got out of the vehicle — already having made up their minds to fire their weapons. Without assessing the background that confronted them, they shot towards the direction of Trader Joe’s. [There were] at least four or five visible people in front of the store and on the side of the store” when the shots were fired, plus people and cars around the front of the store.
Why did the LAPD fire in the direction of civilians? And why won’t they release the raw footage currently in their possession? The family of Mely Corado has issued a plea to have the footage released, but so far, that evidence has not been forthcoming. At this time, the family is unsure whether or not it will pursue legal action; their response may hinge on what the raw videos show.
Mely Corado “was a very special person who loved her family and friends,” Mely’s father said at a press conference. “We are devastated by her loss. We have many questions about how Mely died but we don’t have any answers.”
We are committed to getting those answers for Mr. Corado, for Mely’s family, and for the people of Los Angeles. The release of these highly-edited videos is too cute by half; it is neither transparent nor just. At Taylor & Ring, we fight for what is right, and what the LAPD is doing by withholding the raw footage is not right. We have taken on the LAPD before; we promise you that we won’t back down.
Our team is committed to finding justice for Mely Corado and her family, the way we have always fought for justice for our clients. To learn more about us or our services, or to schedule a free consultation with one of our injury lawyers in Los Angeles, please call 310.776.6390 or fill out our contact form.