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LAPD found justified in shooting of actor-report (Reuters)

by Reuters Thursday, Oct. 25, 2001 at 12:03 AM

A Los Angeles police officer who shot and killed actor Anthony Dwain Lee as he brandished a fake gun at a noisy Halloween party last year was justified in his use of deadly force the Los Angeles Police Commission ruled October 23, 2001. The commission, which oversees the department, decided that Officer Tarriel Hopper thought the toy .357 Magnum was real.

LAPD found justified in shooting of actor-report

Tuesday October 23 4:05 PM ET

LAPD found justified in shooting of actor-report

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles police officer who shot and killed an actor brandishing a fake gun at a Halloween party last year was justified, a Los Angeles Police Department internal review board has found, according to a report in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times.

The board concluded that Officer Tarriel Hopper, 28, thought the toy .357 Magnum carried by actor Anthony Dwain Lee, 39, a guest at an upscale Bel Air party last October, was real, and he feared for his life, the Times reported, citing unnamed police sources.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department declined to comment on the report Tuesday. ``We don't reveal the results of confidential internal reviews,'' said LAPD Sgt. John Pasquariello.

The board recommended to Police Chief Bernard Parks that Hopper's action be found ``in policy,'' meaning that the four-year LAPD veteran should receive no disciplinary action for firing nine shots through a window into a residence, killing Lee, the Times reported.

Lee was shot in the back as he stood with friends in an upscale mansion, autopsy results showed.

Although the board was unable to find fault with Hopper's actions it recommended that he receive additional training to improve his police skills.

Chief Parks had the option of accepting the findings or drafting a new opinion. Parks forwarded the case to the Los Angeles Police Commission, a five member civilian panel that oversees the department's policies, Pasquariello said.

The panel was meeting Tuesday behind closed doors and was expected to approve the recommendations Tuesday afternoon, commission spokeswoman Tamryn Catania said.

Lee's sister, Tina Lee-Vogt, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Hopper and the LAPD last year, charging that the shooting was unjustified.

Lee-Vogt is represented by attorney Johnnie Cochran, Jr., who led the so-called ``Dream Team'' of lawyers that won an acquittal on murder charges for ``Trial of the Century'' defendant O.J. Simpson in 1995.

Reuters/Variety REUTERS

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