Toni McBride is a Los Angeles Police officer and daughter of the police union’s director whose fatal shooting of 38-year-old Daniel Hernandez was captured on body camera. Hernandez’s family has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against McBride and the department, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Hernandez was killed on April 22 in an incident captured on Facebook Live by a witness and on McBride’s body camera. The LAPD is investigating but has not said publicly whether McBride is still on duty. Calls for repercussions have grown in strength since the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May, including a petition almost 20,000 have signed. Hernandez’s family’s lawsuit was filed on June 10.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Hernandez Was Involved in a 5-Car Collision & Witnesses Told McBride He Was Suicidal; When He Emerged From His Car, He Was Holding a Knife or Box Cutter
According to police, McBride and unnamed other officers were patrolling near San Pedro and 32nd streets the afternoon of April 22 when they encountered a five-car collision and heard from witnesses at the scene that the man who caused it had a knife and was trying to harm himself with it.
On the body camera footage, a woman in a minivan stopped by McBride’s patrol vehicle can be heard telling her, “He’s got a knife” and, “He’s the one who caused the accident.”
Hernandez, who was driving a pickup at the time, then emerges from behind his totaled vehicle, appearing disoriented, and walks into the middle of the street as McBride yells for him to “drop the knife.” McBride then shoots Hernandez twice. He falls, then tries to stand, before McBride fires four more shots into him. The police department’s video of the shooting can be seen here, but it is disturbing.
2. Hernandez’s Daughter Filed a Wrongful Death Lawsuit, Alleging Her Dad Was in ‘Shock, Trauma & Panic’
Hernandez’s daughter, who is a minor, says in her lawsuit that her father posed “no threat to anyone” and notes that McBride fired four more shots into Hernandez once he was already on the ground. Further, she says McBride put the witnesses in danger.
“Each of McBride’s deadly rounds lacked justification and recklessly endangered multiple bystanders,” she writes.
Hernandez’s sister, Marina Vergara, told Spectrum News 1 that the family found out about his death by watching it on Facebook. “Our family is traumatized,” she said.
In the family’s Change.org petition, Vergara pleads with the public to watch all available videos of her brother’s death and not to “give the LAPD a pass on brutality.”
“You will realize that the LAPD officer did not attempt to de-escalate the situation. … Just like the murderer of George Floyd, she knew nothing would happen to her,” she writes. “As a white woman and an LAPD officer, she used her privilege to get away with shooting a brown man in Historic South Central L.A. in the middle of a pandemic.”
The family also alleges the LAPD concocted a scenario in which McBride and other officers’ lives were in danger in order to justify the killing.
3. McBride Is the Daughter of the Police Union’s Director & a Model for Prominent Hollywood Gun Company Taran Tactical Innovations
Not only is McBride the daughter of Los Angeles Police Protective League Director Jamie McBride, but she also regularly models and shoots guns in videos promoting Taran Tactical Innovations, a company that supplies high-end tactical firearms to police and Hollywood, as well as trains actors in how to use guns authentically.
She has been featured in dozens of videos on Facebook and Instagram, firing tactical weapons at the TTI range, including one where she is seen interacting with actor Jake Busey and excitedly nailing targets.
The company’s founder, Taran Butler, has trained actors, including Keanu Reeves for the John Wick series.
McBride was gifted a custom “multithousand-dollar pistol” by Butler, according to Los Angeles Magazine.
The elder McBride has his feet planted in Hollywood as well as the police union. A 2016 Vice profile of the veteran LAPD detective noted that he has played both cops and killers in movies like Collateral and Transformers. One of the main characters in the 2012 cop thriller End of Watch was loosely based on him, according to his IMDB biography.
4. LAPD Issued Video From 3 Perspectives & Laid Out How Hernandez’s Shooting Will Be Investigated
The police department released a video on April 28 including McBride’s body camera footage and video recovered from two bystanders, with some graphical edits to highlight the knife or box cutter that police and witnesses say was in Hernandez’s hand.
In one of the videos taken by bystanders, you can hear two men talking in Spanish about what is happening, seconds after Hernandez is shot.
“They didn’t have to shoot,” one man says, before a second interjects: “No, they did. He had a knife. He was walking toward her.”
An LAPD spokesman in the video says the shooting will go to the Critical Incident Review division, where forensics will be analyzed and witnesses interviewed. That division’s findings will go to Chief Michael Moore, who will then make a recommendation to the Civilian Board of Police Commissioners.
4. Hernandez’s Family Claims McBride Is Being Protected by the Department’s Culture & Her Dad’s Connections
In the wrongful death lawsuit, Hernandez’s family says a “code of silence” and culture of covering for officers who use unnecessary deadly force has been part of the LAPD for “at least 20 years.” The city is named as a defendant because of this allegation.
Vergara also believes that Jamie McBride’s connections will prevent a fair investigation and consequences for Toni McBride.
“Toni McBride is protected by the union and all of her dad’s cop buddies,” Vergara wrote in her petition. “We are frustrated at the lack of response from our local leaders to manage the LAPD. [District Attorney] Jackie Lacey doesn’t do anything either.”
The union issued a statement to Spectrum after the lawsuit was reported.
“Any loss of life in our city is tragic, and we send our condolences to the family of Mr. Hernandez,” the union said. “The LAPD has a national police accountability model and one of the most rigorous investigative processes in the nation. It is our expectation that the Department will conduct a fair and thorough review, as it does in all use of force cases, and that the Civilian Police Commission will make the appropriate findings based on all the facts of the case.”
5. Local News Reports McBride Is Back On Duty & the LAPD’s Investigation Could Take A Year
Spectrum News reported on June 19 that McBride was back on duty in the Newton Division and that LAPD said the investigation into Hernandez’s shooting could take a year.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police, in a manual of recommendations for police departments regarding officer-involved shootings, says officers should be immediately placed on administrative leave pending mental health counseling.
The LAPD declined to comment this week when Heavy asked if McBride was back on patrol or on leave, citing ongoing litigation.
Hernandez’s family wants to see McBride fired and federally prosecuted for murder, according to their petition. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, attorney fees and the cost of filing the suit.