Grand Jury Considers Indictments of Two Former Torrance Cops Involved in the Fatal Shooting of Christopher Deandre Mitchell

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Tuesday, March 21, 2023 6:03 am

Grand Jury Considers Fatal Gunfight Involving Two Former Torrance Cops

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is expected to convene a grand jury this week to decide whether two former Torrance cops should be charged in the 2018 shooting death of an alleged car thief, despite four independent investigations into former district attorney Jackie Lacey being conducted around in 2019 to determine that the officers acted lawfully.

Christopher Deandre Mitchell was shot dead on December 9, 2018 while sitting in the driver’s seat of a stolen car. Body cameras worn by the two officers show Mitchell had a rifle between his legs, and officers say he reached for the gun and urged them to open fire.

Investigators later determined that the rifle was a pellet pistol but appeared to be a sawed-off shotgun.

“This case was resolved the following October by the staff of then-district attorney Jackie Lacey. They resolved the shooting as a justified use of deadly force in self-defense,” said Defense Attorney Tom Yu, who is representing one of the officers in the case. “I think it’s political, an attempt to reopen something that has already been closed and is warranted.”

George Gascón’s office declined to comment on the grand jury’s consideration of the Torrance police shooting because by law grand juries are required to be secret. But a Gascón spokeswoman, Tiffany Blacknell, issued a written statement addressing the shooting incident involving an officer and had three others that Gascón promised to resume when he ran for office .

Blacknell says the four cases are being handled by Special Attorney Lawrence Middleton.

“These cases will not be prosecuted by this office, but the special prosecutor will take whatever action is necessary to investigate and, if the evidence warrants, prosecute any potential criminal activity by law enforcement officials in these cases on behalf of the prosecution,” she said wrote.

Middleton was appointed by Gascon in 2021 and the Los Angeles County board of directors agreed to pay him up to $1.5 million a year for four years.

Attorney Yu is frustrated that taxpayers’ money is being used to prosecute his client, which he says is just politics.

“You have a district attorney running for office who, for political reasons, is reopening a case that is otherwise already closed and justified,” Yu said.

Copyright © 2023 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. Grand Jury Considers Indictments of Two Former Torrance Cops Involved in the Fatal Shooting of Christopher Deandre Mitchell

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