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Calif. City Council Apologizes

January 4, 2000

CLAREMONT, Calif. (AP) _ In a letter to the community, city officials apologized for what some regarded as an insensitive response to a police shooting that left a black motorist dead.

A year ago, two officers shot 18-year-old Irvin Landrum Jr., setting off protests accusing the police of racism and cover-ups.

The letter, read at a council meeting Monday, comes after the city manager released the criminal record of the victim’s uncle _ a protest organizer _ and endorsed the two officers for employees of the year.

``We regret some of the actions of the city taken over the past several months have been divisive,″ the letter said. ``The City Council and the city manager should have been more sensitive.″

Landrum was pulled over by officers Hany Hanna and Kent Jacks for speeding. Authorities said he was killed after shooting at police. A sheriff’s investigation, however, showed the gun had not been fired, had no fingerprints and was last registered to a deceased police chief in a nearby town. Landrum’s family contends the gun was planted by police.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office found the officers were not criminally liable for the shooting. But the U.S. Justice Department is investigating.

The council decided to mail the letter to every home in the city once all five council members have signed it.

``I am not proud of our insensitive lack of action,″ Mayor Karen Rosenthal said.

Many speakers at the council meeting accused City Manager Glenn Southard of making a bad situation worse.

In Monday’s Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Southard defended his decision to release Obee Landrum’s rap sheet. He said Landrum’s record, which included two stints in prison for burglary and grand theft, made him a threat.

Claremont is about 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

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