Jessica Brown, 35, Killed In Tarzana, Los Angeles Police Shooting Near Reseda Boulevard

TARZANA, CALIFORNIA (July 23, 2023) – A woman identified as Jessica Brown has tragically died in a Tarzana police shooting by Reseda Boulevard and Hatteras Street.

Los Angeles Police Department officials are saying that the incident began around 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. They responded to reports that a woman holding a metal pipe allegedly attacked four people.

Police officers encountered Jessica Brown near the parking lot of a gas station. It remains unclear if she was holding anything by the time law enforcement arrived.

Police officers used tasers and a 40mm foam baton round. Those measures did not appear to be effective and officers opened fire.

Jessica Brown was struck by gunfire and seriously injured. She was taken to a local hospital where she was later pronounced dead. A full investigation into the shooting remains ongoing at this time.


Liability For Los Angeles Police Department Shootings

Los Angeles has an unfortunately high number of fatal police shootings. A disproportionate number of those killed were suffering from severe mental health conditions. According to PBS, “Nearly one in five U.S. adults has a mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Yet people with untreated mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed during a police encounter than other people approached by law enforcement.” There are a number of steps police officers should take in order to avoid fatal encounters with mentally ill suspects.

  • Officers should request backup before engaging.
  • Officers should do their best to calm the situation
  • Officers should try to avoid physical contact.
  • Officers should determine if the suspect is taking medication.
  • Officers should acknowledge the suspects feelings.
  • Officers should refrain from making any threats.

All police officers must follow the law and only use lethal force as a measure of last resort. Pursuant to California Penal Code 835(a), “the authority to use physical force, conferred on peace officers by this section, is a serious responsibility that shall be exercised judiciously and with respect for human rights and dignity and for the sanctity of every human life.” When a police officer violates a safety rule set forth by their department, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim.

Consider, for example, Tabares v. City of Huntington Beach. A Huntington Beach police officer encountered a suspect in the midst of a mental health crisis. He told that officer numerous times that he didn’t want to speak with him. The officer kept engaging with the suspect until a brief altercation which led to a fatal shooting. Family members of the suspect argued that the officer failed to follow department policy for dealing with mentally ill suspects. Orange County officials eventually reached a settlement with his family. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any police shooting.

  • Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
  • Medical records should be preserved.
  • Body camera footage from all officers involved should be sought.
  • A thorough investigation should be conducted.
  • An experienced civil rights advocate should be contacted.

When police officers use lethal force, police departments will typically investigate themselves. Unsurprisingly, they will determine that their officers didn’t do anything wrong. But this is often not the case. At some point prior to any fatal encounter, officers may fail to follow department policies. The family of any person killed in a police shooting may be able to seek some measure of justice through a constitutional claim.


Investigating Los Angeles Police Department Shootings

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Jessica Brown. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. It is our sincere hope that the LAPD will be transparent about what took place.

Have you or someone that you care about been harmed by the excessive force of the LAPD? There are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. Our team of experienced civil rights advocates are here for you. We focus on holding police departments accountable for the unjust and unconstitutional actions of their officers. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.


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