UPDATE: Why Won’t the LAPD Release the Unedited Tape of What Happened to Mely Corado?

Mely Corado’s Family Deserves Better than the Highly Edited Video Release by LAPD

It’s been more than four years – FOUR YEARS – since Mely Corado lost her life and the LAPD still refuses to release the tape. After the 2018 police shootout where Corado was caught in the crossfire, her family still awaits justice. Although the information that could give Mely’s family closure is available in an internal LAPD report, the city refuses to release it to the family until after the civil trial is over – which is still potentially months away.

As John Taylor, who’s representing Mely’s family in a civil suit, told ABC7 News, “It makes no sense:

The video has them roll right up on Gene Atkins’ vehicle and get out of the car and start shooting with no regard for the background. There are people on the sidewalk, there are people coming out of the Trader Joe’s, there are people inside the store.

These documents, what would they jeopardize in the prosecution of Gene Atkins? He’s in possession of all those documents.

More than years later, Mely’s loved ones are still asking questions and looking for answers and asking to see the full, uncut video of what really happened the day of her death. Per ABC 7, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said the officers involved in the shooting “were justified in using deadly force” in their pursuit of Atkins, but that’s not where the problem lies. The problem is that Mely Corado died as a result of that “justified” force, but we can’t get to the truth because LAPD won’t give us the unedited video. Even now, Atkins is the one facing charges for her death despite the proof that it was an LAPD bullet which killed her.

Watch John Taylor and Mely Corado’s family’s interview with NBC News here:

In July 2018, 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 – her friends and family called her 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.”

As Mr. Taylor explained, “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, and even years later that evidence has not been forthcoming.

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. We have not forgotten about Mely and her family and we will never stop fighting for her.  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 our offices today or fill out our contact form.