A 23-year-old Los Angeles police officer known as ‘top shot’ has been sued by the heartbroken 14-year-old daughter of a man she killed after he appeared to lunge at her with a box cutter.
Toni McBride, an officer in LAPD’s Newton Division who has appeared in magazines and practices at gun ranges alongside Hollywood stars including Keanu Reeves, is being sued after bodycam footage showing her shooting Daniel Hernandez, 38, in downtown Los Angeles in April was released.
The footage shows that after instructing him to drop a box cutter he was holding, Hernandez appeared to continue to walk towards the officer.
McBride fired four times before the man fell to the ground. After he collapsed, McBride fired twice more because he still had the weapon in his hands.
LAPD police officer Toni McBride, 23, shot and killed Daniel Hernandez, 38, in downtown LA in April after he appeared to walk towards her with a knife
The LAPD officer is now being sued by the man’s 14-year-old daughter after bodycam footage was released
Hernandez is pictured with his daughter who is now a teenager and is suing the police force
Hernandez was involved in a multi-car accident and got out of his vehicle, but after refusing to listen to instructions to stand still, he was shot
Hernandez’s 14-year-old daughter is now suing the LAPD claiming the shooting was unjustified and that McBride had ‘reckless violent and homicidal propensities.’
The Hernandez family say that the police use of force is something that black and Latino people have been dealing with for decades.
‘Do we want police officers to be gunslingers, or to live up to the LAPD motto, “to protect and to serve?”‘ Arnoldo Casillas, an attorney representing the Hernandez family said to the LA Times.
Others have defended McBride believing that the use of force was justified.
‘There is absolutely no doubt in my mind this officer was facing an immediate threat to her life,’ Ed Obayashi, a police use-of-force expert said.
McBride is now back on the streets on patrol as the lawsuit progresses.
Hernandez died at the scene and now his 14-year-old daughter is suing the LAPD
Hernandez can be seen stumbling as he is shot by officer McBride, seen far right
McBride was seen to fire six times at the man after seeing him come towards her with a knife
McBride has been the subject of a number of profiles in magazines and her videos appear on the social media page of a Simi Valley shooting range, Taran Tactical Innovations.
‘That’s what I’m known for,’ Taran Butler who runs a Simi Valley gun range told Los Angeles Magazine. ‘Beautiful girls who shoot as good as they look.’
Located an hour northwest of Hollywood, celebrities and Instagram models come to fire assault-style rifles and shotguns at targets including McBride.
The Hernandez family is suggesting that such rapid-fire, playing-to-the-camera videos, run counter to LAPD policy that require a calm response and cool head.
On the day of Hernandez’s shooting, officers were sent to the scene of a traffic accident in which a man inside one of the cars was trying to stab himself.
As McBride arrives on scene, she can be heard in the footage telling other drivers to get out of the their cars and away from the crash site.
Bodycam footage from other angles shows Hernandez walking towards her with a weapon
This is a picture of the box cutter knife that was kicked out of Hernandez’s hand
‘Hey man let me see your hands,’ she said to Hernandez. ‘Stay right there,’ she told him, before yelling ‘Drop the knife!’ three times.
‘Stay right there,’ McBride commanded.
Hernandez stopped for a moment but then began to walk towards her with outstretched arms.
Drop it!’ McBride yelled before firing at him twice.
Hernandez collapsed but then as he started to get up, McBride fired four more times.
He was found with a box cutter knife in his hands which police kicked away.
McBride was featured on the front of a magazine, The Blue Press this June. The magazine contains articles about shooting sports and firearms
LAPD Officer Toni McBride with Keanu Reeves, second from left, at Taran Tactical posted in December 2019
Hernandez’s lawyer claims the shooting by McBride, pictured, was unjustified and the officer who pulled the trigger had ‘reckless, violent and homicidal propensities’
McBride has been featured in shooting magazines and has long posted videos on her social media at shooting ranges
This time Hernandez fell to the ground face down and stopped moving.
‘You can clearly see that Daniel Hernandez gets out of a totaled car, walks shirtless, with hands to his sides, he’s not making any gestures that’s threatening to anyone,’ the family’s attorney, Narine Mkrtchyan, said to NBC Los Angeles.
Mkrtchyan believes Hernandez was too far away from McBride to have been a significant threat and that other less lethal options such as stun guns should have been used in the first instance.
‘These are more experienced officers, probably, and they’re not resorting to deadly force,’ Mkrtchyan said, referring to other attending officers at the scene, who held back from firing.
McBride’s attorney has responded to the lawsuit saying that she wanted to ensure everybody involved was safe.
A number of social media posts show McBride with her gun
‘She does everything she can to preserve life,’ McBride’s attorney Larry Hanna said. ‘She put her body in front of the citizens who were there and kept telling Hernandez to stop. She put out her hand, she did everything she could.’
‘She joined this department to help people who couldn’t protect themselves. There were all these people around here, some frozen in their cars in fear, and this person was coming at them with a knife,’ Hanna said.
The case is currently being reviewed by detectives at the LAPD’s Force Investigation Division who will decide whether McBride actions were within department policy.
The LA County District Attorney’s Office will then decide whether the killing was lawful.