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LAPD policeman who shot teenage girl in clothing store was aspiring reformer

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LAPD policeman who shot teenage girl in clothing store was aspiring reformer

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Twitter / LAPD / William Jones Jr.

The Los Angeles police officer who shot dead a 14-year-old girl while trying on Christmas dresses has been identified as a veteran black cop who, before killing the unarmed teenager, attempted to build his brand as a community advocate and reformer.

He also launched a clothing line called “Use of Force Fitness” but disbanded it in December 2020, after months of unprecedented protests against police violence across America.

William Dorsey Jones Jr., 42, was formally identified by his lawyer in The New York Times. Attempts to reach Jones for comment this week were unsuccessful and his lawyer, Leslie Wilcox, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Valentina Orellana-Peralta and her mother, who had recently moved to the United States from Chile, were in a locker room when cops stormed a Burlington coat factory in North Hollywood on December 23 to confront a man who threw a bicycle lock at women, making at least one of them bloody. The fact that the cops opened fire when the suspect was unarmed quickly rekindled long-standing tensions between the LAPD and communities of color, as well as the debate over the use of force by police nationwide.

Surveillance footage and body camera video released by the LAPD show an officer firing three shots at suspect Daniel Elena-Lopez, 24. Elena-Lopez was killed, but a bullet also penetrated a dry wall, piercing Valentina in her chest.

Soledad Peralta told a press conference on Tuesday that her daughter locked the locker room door as the chaos unfolded “to try to protect us,” and the couple hugged and prayed until that they “feel an explosion that knocked us both to the ground.” Peralta looked down to see her daughter convulsing, white powder coming out of her body. “She died in my arms and there was nothing I could do,” she said.

Mother says LAPD let teenage daughter die after horrific shooting at clothing store

Social media accounts, now locked or deleted, and past interviews reveal that prior to the disastrous incident, Jones was determined to position himself as a bridge between police and communities of color.

“I am a black man, I am the father of a black son, I was the victim[im] racism, ”he wrote in a tweet now deleted. “I am the LAPD. I have the power and the determination to influence CHANGE in the community. I am proud to be a member of #lignebleuefine & #black lives matter. “

Cached messages on sound Twitter page missing show them promoting a nonprofit, Officers for Change and related charitable activities, while another account now inaccessible says he coached a local high school football team.

He appears to have closed the Officers for Change Facebook account and Twitter accounts, and substantially dismantled its website. But archived material shows that he logged in as “a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit.” on a mission to positively impact the lives of people living in at-risk and low-income communities “with a” sworn platform to educate, inspire, mentor and motivate “.

The Kentucky native opened up about his experiences and interests in a now-deleted December 2020 post on his alma mater’s website, the University of Louisville. “Being an African American policeman and originally from Louisville has given me a very unique perspective,” he said.

The article reported that Jones moved to Los Angeles in 2006 to pursue a career in entertainment, but instead became a cop, spending eight years on patrol and then three years as a community relations officer.

Public records also suggest that he may have looked for other ways to capitalize on his career as a police officer: company information, trademarks, and the website.

In recent days, Los Angeles City Councilor Mike Bonin has led a chorus of locals and activists calling the LAPD’s use of force in the deadly incident unjustified.

“The police did not give any verbal orders and did not try to [sic] defuse. The suspect did not have a firearm and was not advancing towards officers or potential victims. The police opened fire in a shopping center with people in it, ”he wrote. on Twitter.

Passers-by who called 911 about Elena-Lopez offered conflicting information. A caller mistakenly said he was armed with a gun and fired.

Tom Saggau, spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing Jones, said police expected an active shooter situation.

“You are trained to enter the facility and try to eliminate the threat so that more people are not shot down. It’s the state of mind when they answer that call, ”he told The Daily Beast.

He said Jones was “absolutely devastated” by the outcome.

However, Valentina’s family, who are represented by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, called to account on Tuesday and claimed officers left Valentina to die alone on the floor as they evacuated others from the store. .

In a statement released Monday, LAPD chief Michel R. Moore said he was “deeply sorry” for his death and promised a “full, full and transparent investigation”. The California Attorney General’s Office and the California Department of Justice have also launched separate investigations.

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