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No Charges For 5 Police Officers Who Shot and Killed Couple Sleeping in Their Car

Inglewood, Ca. – The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has decided that no charges will be filed against five former police officers involved in the 2016 shooting deaths of a man and woman found sleeping in a parked car. 

The decision comes more than 5 years after the February 21, 2016 shooting of Kisha Michael and Marquintan Sandlin. The DA’s office released a statement saying, “we have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers’ use of deadly force was unlawful.”

According to the report released by Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, the shootings occurred around 4 a.m. after police received a call reporting two people were either asleep or unconscious in the front seats of a car. The caller also told police that the passenger, a woman later identified as Kisha Michael, had a gun on her lap. 

When police arrived at the location, they parked their cars in the front and back of the couple’s vehicle to prevent them from leaving. The officers tried for over 40 minutes to wake the couple, using spotlights, illuminated light bars, sirens, an air horn, and nudging the car’s back bumper with a police vehicle but the couple did not wake, the report said. 

Eventually, Sandlin began moving. A sergeant then made an announcement over a speaker instructing Michael and Sandlin not to move and to roll the windows down. 

According to the report, Sandlin rolled the window down and then drove the car forwards and backwards, striking the police vehicles in front and behind him. He then drove the car forward again and stopped.

Multiple officers said they saw Sandlin lean toward his right and reach toward Michael’s lap, where there was a handgun, according to the report.

One officer fired two shotgun rounds, hitting Sandlin. Michael then woke up and opened the passenger’s door, the report says. Officers said they fired after seeing her reach toward her lap.

Michael was shot 13 times and died at the scene. Sandlin was shot seven times, and later died at a hospital.

Gascón said in the report that the officers believed there was “imminent danger of death and great bodily injured” when they opened fire.

“We further find that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers’ decision to use deadly force was not objectively reasonable,” Gascón wrote.

The Inglewood Police Department received sharp criticism from the couple’s families and the community after the shooting. The department took more than a year to release information about how the shooting unfolded and to provide an explanation of what prompted the officers to shoot. 

The five officers involved in the shooting – Michael Jaen, Richard Parcella, Jason Cantrell, Sean Reidy and Andrew Cohen – were fired.

The officers later filed a racial discrimination lawsuit alleging they were fired because they were white. That case is still in a pretrial phase and has a tentative jury trial set for January, 2023, according to court records.

The families of Michael and Sandlin sued the City of Inglewood over the deaths and received an $8.6-million legal settlement.

Here’s a link to the DA decision in the Inglewood case.

Here’s a link to the DA decision in the Pasadena case of Anthony McClain.

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