California Department of Justice agents realized they were short-handed just hours after a Los Angeles police officer shot and killed an unarmed man on Hollywood Boulevard. 

A 911 caller told police the man was threatening people on the morning of July 15, 2021, waving what appeared to be a pistol in a busy tourist pocket. The object in his hand turned out to be a lighter with a pistol grip. 

The fatal shooting was the first test of a law requiring the Justice Department to investigate police shootings of unarmed civilians. The agents would need to interview witnesses, mark evidence and canvass nearby businesses for surveillance footage, according to documents detailing the state’s response. 

California Peace Officer Standards and Training Budget
CalMatters screenshot

Body camera footage released by the Los Angeles Police Department of the shooting of Matthew Sova on July 15, 2021. Screenshot via YouTube

This story was originally published by CalMatters.  You can read more of their coverage of California state government on CalMatters.org

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