Toni McBride LAPD police shooting of Daniel Hernandez- a case of excessive force, police brutality and a failure to deescalate but rather shoot to kill mandate?
Did one cop go overboard? A part-time Instagram influencer and full-time LAPD police officer is being sued by the 14-year-old daughter of the man she shot and killed in downtown Los Angeles earlier this year.
Toni McBride, 23, otherwise known as ‘Top Shot’ because of her sharpshooting skills, is facing two lawsuits from the family of Daniel Hernandez, 38, who she claimed had approached her with a boxcutter on April 22 when she shot the man dead.
Hernandez’ unnamed daughter filed her wrongful-death suit July 10, about a month after the LAPD released footage from McBride’s body-cam.
McBride, who has posed for magazine covers and has 67,000 social-media followers, is known for visiting a Simi Valley gun range where Hollywood stars often do weapons-training for movies.
Immediate threat to life?
McBride can be seen drawing her gun and instructing two motorists to leave their cars and step away from their vehicles.
Daniel Hernandez then appears in the frame walking in the middle of the street, holding what appears to be a boxcutter in his right hand.
‘Don’t move,’ McBride is heard ordering him, gesturing with her left hand.
McBride is heard telling Hernandez to ‘drop the knife’ four times, only for Hernandez to seemingly continue moving in the cop’s direction, arms held out to his sides at waist level, walking with an unusual gait, still grasping the weapon.
Simply protecting herself & the public?
At no point has the man who appears discombobulated charged at anyone or appeared to be an immediate threat to anyone in the vicinity.
McBride unfazed opens fire, shooting Hernandez, who was about 30 feet away, twice. He falls to the pavement on his side, managing to get back up, with the police officer firing off four more rounds at the man who had been dramatically diminished.
McBride’s supporters defend her as an officer trying to protect herself and the public from a dangerous man. Hernandez’s family and their lawyers say the shooting epitomizes the blind use of force that has haunted Black and Latino communities for generations.
— 5.11 Tactical (@511Tactical) September 17, 2019
‘Do we want police officers to be gunslingers, or to live up to the LAPD motto, ‘to protect and to serve’?’ said Arnoldo Casillas, an attorney representing the Hernandez family via the the latimes.
‘I feel like [McBride] was set to kill. There was no attempt to deescalate whatsoever,’ Marina Vergara, Hernandez’s older sister told the media outlet.
The lawsuit claims ‘Hernandez posed no threat or danger to anyone and none to McBride in particular.’
Family members of the flooring-installer argue that McBride was too quick to shoot at Hernandez, who was at least 30 feet away from her and not near bystanders.
‘You can clearly see that Daniel Hernandez gets out of a totaled car, walks shirtless, with hands to his sides, he’s not making any gestures that’s threatening to anyone,’ the family’s attorney, Narine Mkrtchyan, told NBC Los Angeles.
— 5.11 Tactical (@511Tactical) December 3, 2019
Just following police protocol?
McBride attorney Larry Hanna has argued that she was simply following protocol.
‘She put her body in front of the citizens who were there and kept telling Hernandez to stop,’ Hanna told NBC. ‘She put out her hand, she did everything she could.’
A police use-of-force expert believes the case is ‘a clear-cut justified shooting.’ Ed Obayashi said he was convinced after watching video of the incident that there was ‘no doubt’ that McBride faced ‘an immediate threat to her life.’ But did she really? Or was this just an opportunity to practice her shooting range ‘top shot’ skills?
‘She loves to shoot all these things as fast as she can,’ reiterated Casillas, the lawyer for Hernandez’s family. ‘That certainly is in stark contrast to the measured, cautious police officer, exhibiting a reverence for life. This isn’t a movie.’
McBride has since taken down her Instagram page. She is back on patrol as the lawsuit progresses.
A change petition demanding the prosecution of Toni McBride for murder, and that LAPD terminate Toni McBride as of Saturday night had garnered 21,099 signatures out of 25K needed.