The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released body camera footage Friday of a deputy-involved shooting of a 27-year-old woman after they entered her home in response to a domestic violence call she had pass.
Niani Finlayson was allegedly shot and killed in her Lancaster, Calif., home after a police officer fired four shots at her on Dec. 4, the LASD said. She called police because she claimed her boyfriend wouldn’t leave her alone, according to an LASD news release.
“It’s so unfair that we have to live our lives without Niani Finlayson,” Tracie Hall, Finlayson’s mother, told ABC News. “She was my best friend. I’m going to miss her so much. I miss her already.”
In Finlayson’s 911 call for police to help, audio of which was released by LASD, Finlayson can be heard yelling at someone to let their hands go. She told the dispatcher she needed help getting a man out of her home.
Hall told ABC News that Finlayson’s daughter informed her that her ex-boyfriend had choked Finlayson and wouldn’t let go of her after she repeatedly asked him to do so. When Finlayson’s daughter tried to help her mother, the man grabbed the 9-year-old and forcibly threw her against a nearby dresser, according to Hall.
Three police officers arrived on site. In the body camera footage, screams could be heard coming from inside the apartment. After police attempted to break down the door, Finlayson opened the door and appeared to have a knife in one hand, according to body camera footage.
In the body camera video, Finlayson said, “I’m going to stab him.” » Finlayson then disappeared from the camera as she left the door and returned home. That’s when the deputies drew their weapons.
Deputies followed Finlayson into the house where she began yelling at her ex-boyfriend, who Hall said needed to leave. Finlayson’s daughter could also be seen on camera saying, “He pushed me” or “He hit me.”
Finlayson then grabbed the alleged boyfriend with one hand, while the knife was in his other hand. Deputy Ty Shelton then shot Finlayson four times, causing her to fall to the ground.
“No, no,” the alleged ex-boyfriend yelled at police after the shooting. “Why did you shoot?” Finlayson’s daughter also witnessed the shooting.
“We’re trying, as a family, to make sure she (Finlayson’s daughter) doesn’t feel guilty for helping her mother,” Hall said. “She had nothing wrong. She didn’t do anything wrong. And I want her to know that. I can’t express that to her enough.”
Deputies provided first aid until paramedics arrived and transported Finlayson to the hospital where she was later pronounced deceased, according to an LASD news release.
After the shooting, the alleged ex-boyfriend became resistant to police and was arrested for child abuse and assault on a peace officer, according to a news release from the sheriff’s department. He was later released pending further investigation.
Neither police nor Hall’s attorney, Bradley Gage, would confirm the ex-boyfriend’s identity to ABC News.
On Dec. 21, a lawsuit was filed in court by Finlayson’s family seeking at least $30 million from the LASD and Los Angeles County for the killing of Finlayson by an LASD deputy, according to Gage.
“The deputy involved in the shooting has been removed from the field pending the results of the department’s critical incident review,” the LASD said in a statement. “The department will review and evaluate all aspects of the shooting, including the response, tactics and background of the employee.”
The investigation will include a multi-level review process involving the Office of Inspector General, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Judicial Integrity Division , according to a press release from the LASD.
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