When Anaheim police fired their guns and killed Monique Deckard on March 8, they had their body cameras turned on. The shooting had been the first since the department outfitted its officers with the recording device. The much-ballyhooed change aimed at increasing transparency, but no footage of the Deckard shooting has ever been publicly released. Body cameras get a mere side mention in the Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) report released this week clearing police officers of any wrongdoing.
According to investigators, Anaheim police received a call from Deckard's brother around 3:30 p.m. that day. He was concerned for his sister's mental health, especially given the fact she recently asked his friends about how to get a gun. Police arrived at Deckard's Anaheim apartment but she was nowhere to be found.
Two hours later, Deckard walked into a nearby laundromat on South Euclid Street with a large kitchen knife in hand. Without provocation, she took a stab at a woman doing laundry but only wounded her superficially. Deckard left the laundromat returning home. Sergeant Lorenzo Glenn arrived at the scene of the assault and learned where Deckard lived. He called additional officers to her apartment and Robert Lopez, David DePriest, Dale Miller and Jonathan Nooitgedagt responded.
Lopez approached Deckard's door, knocked and asked her to come out for a chat. "Kill me motherfucker, kill me!" she screamed instead. "Fucking kill me, I want to fucking die, I want you to fucking kill me!" Lopez tried assuring her that they were there to help, not harm. A standoff ensued with additional officers Kevin Flanagan, Gerry Verpooten and Kevin Sanchez arriving to back up their colleagues.
Police took up positions and mulled around for ten minutes as to what to do next. A negotiator traveling to the scene suggested Lopez try to engage with Deckard again but just as he started, she emerged from her apartment. Officers ordered her hands up and when Deckard did, she had a large kitchen knife in one and a smaller blade in the other. She moved towards the backtracking cops when DePriest fired his less-lethal shotgun twice.
Lethal bullets followed next, lots of them. Miller shot at Deckard 7 times, Flanagan fired eight and Nootigedagt got his two shots in. She was pronounced deceased soon after at UCI Medical Center in Orange. An autopsy later revealed Deckard suffered 12 gunshot wounds.
"Deckard advanced on them with deadly force and the three officers used appropriate force, under the circumstances, to defend themselves," the OCDA report concludes. "For these reasons, the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers did not act in reasonable and justifiable self-defense and defense of others when they shot Deckard."
Flanagan previously killed Julian Alexander, an innocent African-American man, in 2008 and the OCDA cleared him in that incident, too. The city settled a wrongful death lawsuit in the case for $1.5 million. The Weekly couldn't reach Deckard's brother for comment by press time.
Whatever part of the shooting was captured on camera remains unclear. Some transparency…
As always, read the report in its entirety online.
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2