- 2012elections - 9/11 Special Coverage - aca - africanamericanalzheimers - aids - Alabama News Network - american - Awards & Expo - bees - bilingual - border - californiaeducation - Caribbean - cir - citizenship - climatechange - collgeinmiami - community - democrats - ecotourism - Elders - Election 2012 - elections2012 - escuelas - Ethnic Media in the News - Ethnicities - Events - Eye on Egypt - Fellowships - food - Foreclosures - Growing Up Poor in the Bay Area - Health Care Reform - healthyhungerfreekids - howtodie - humiliating - immigrants - Inside the Shadow Economy - kimjongun - Latin America - Law & Justice - Living - Media - memphismediaroundtable - Multimedia - NAM en Espaol - Politics & Governance - Religion - Richmond Pulse - Science & Technology - Sports - The Movement to Expand Health Care Access - Video - Voter Suppression - War & Conflict - 攔截盤查政策 - Top Stories - Immigration - Health - Economy - Education - Environment - Ethnic Media Headlines - International Affairs - NAM en Español - Occupy Protests - Youth Culture - Collaborative Reporting

Korean Community Leaders Want Feds on Cho Case

New America Media, News Report, Kenneth Kim Posted: Jul 12, 2008

LOS ANGELES Outraged that police were exonerated in the fatal shooting of a young man, Korean American community groups in Los Angeles Thursday launched a petition drive calling for a federal civil rights investigation.

Calling the shooting of 25-year-old Michael Cho a brutal execution and a clear example of excessive use of force that they say fits a pattern of police assault on minorities, community leaders charged that the Orange County District Attorneys Office mishandled the investigation into the shooting.

Cho was gunned down in La Habra, Calif., a small town about 40 miles southeast of Los Angeles. After a six-month investigation, the Orange County District Attorneys Office recently ruled the shooting a justifiable homicide.

We have not yet been given much information other than the conclusion that their officers did nothing wrong, said Grace Yoo, executive director of Korean American Coalition Los Angeles. Theres no doubt that there was excessive use of force, and there were clearly different alternatives that could and should have been taken.

Why was it necessary to shoot Mr. Cho, who was walking away from the police, 11 times? asked Virginia Han, former commissioner with the Orange County Human Relations Commission.

The morning press conference was jointly held by the Korean American Chamber of Commerce, Korean American Federation of Los Angeles, Korean American Federation of Orange County, Korean American Lawyers Association, Korean American Federation of Orange County and Korean Veterans Association.

At the press conference, the Korean community organizations demanded that the Federal Bureau of Investigation conduct a thorough investigation into Chos death. Immediately after the shooting, the La Habra Police Department had invited the FBI to look into the incident.

According to the DAs office, two La Habra police officers encountered Cho in the parking lot of a liquor store in a strip mall on the afternoon of Dec. 31, 2007. The police initially suspected Cho of vandalism based on accounts of a witness.

When confronted by the officers, Cho, who was armed with a tire iron, ignored repeated orders from the officers to drop it. Instead, he walked away from them and then suddenly turned, ostensibly to attack one of the officers with the crow bar. Fearing for his safety, the officer fired and his partner also began firing.

The two officers, whose identities are protected under California law, went back to duty before the DAs office had concluded its independent investigation.

Despite the findings of the investigation, the Korean community's outcry over the shooting did not subside. Community members charge that the officers rushed to shoot Cho, rather than using less lethal tools such as pepper spray or Taser guns to subdue the vandalism suspect. Many community members were also offended that the DA's office disclosed a tape of 911 calls Cho's mother made to police last year in which Cho, who was hallucinating at the time, threatened his mother. They saw this as an attempt to destroy Chos reputation by portraying him as a mentally disturbed and violent man.

Richard Choi Bertsch, a businessman and activist, insists that the local law enforcement agencys investigation served to justify the shooting and to prevent the officers from being charged.

Our trust in local authorities has been betrayed, said Berch. We think its time to ask the Department of Justice to investigate the unjust death of Mr. Cho.

Kenneth Kim is a Los Angeles based writer for New America Media.

Related Articles:

Gone In 41 Seconds -- Police Quick to Kill Korean Artist

DA Refuses to Charge Officers in Cho Case

Cops Face Civil Suit in Killing of Korean American Artist

Page 1 of 1




Just Posted

NAM Coverage

Criminal Justice