The family of Ryan Twyman is speaking out as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department releases footage of the shooting that claimed the life of the father of three in South Los Angeles.
Deputies fired some 34 rounds into the vehicle the 24-year-old had parked in a stall at an apartment complex in the unincorporated area of Willowbrook, the department said.
In the footage of the June 6 shooting released Thursday, two deputies are seen approaching the white Kia sedan Twyman was behind the wheel of with a friend, 22-year-old Deimeon Laffell, in the passenger seat. Both men were unarmed, The Associated Press reported Laffell and Twyman’s family stated.
With their weapons drawn, the deputies, who have yet to be identified but have been assigned desk duty amid a probe, open one of the passenger doors when the car moves into reverse. One deputy walks in reverse in an attempt to keep up with the backing up vehicle and the other retreats and starts firing into the car. The first officer eventually gets away from the car, which is still driving in reverse. He also starts shooting. The other officer is seen heading back to the patrol car and retrieving an assault rifle from the trunk and taking aim behind a parked truck next to the other deputy.
Witness Connie Parson was inside her home when the shooting began. She said she hurried outside to see what she described as a “war.”
Parson told the Los Angeles Times “the way they were shooting, you would think they were in a war with someone else.”
In an Instagram post, Sheriff Alex Villanueva wrote he showed Twyman’s family and their attorney the footage first.
“I believe in transparency and building trust. Yesterday I ensured our department shared the Deputy-involved shooting video involving Ryan Twyman to his family and attorney first,” Villanueva wrote in part.
Speaking out on the video, the family says they believe Twyman was murdered.
“After waking up this morning and watching this video, I have a clear view — opinion — that my son was murdered,” said the slain man’s father, Charles Twyman, at a press conference Thursday.
Remarking on one of the three children Charles Twyman has with him, he said, “I’m running out of answers. I keep telling him his father’s at work. He keeps asking me when is his father coming home. My wife goes to bed crying, she wakes up crying. … To some people, this is news. To us, it’s destroying us.”
Ryan Twyman’s older sister, Chiquita Twyman, addressed reporters with tears streaming down her face.
“My brother was my brother,” she said. “He was human. … He was very respectful and everyone loved him. His kids, his family, everyone. And we just want to see justice for Ryan. Because this isn’t the first one and it most definitely won’t be the last one.”
Brian Dunn, the family’s attorney, previously said there will be federal civil rights litigation filed. Since then, the family has filed a legal claim against L.A. County for damages amid sheriff’s officials telling KTLA there is an investigation from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The department said in a statement it is “aware of the lawsuit filed by the family of Mr. Ryan Twyman” declined to comment further pending the investigation.
“The loss of life is tragic and we understand the community’s concerns regarding this incident,” the statement said.
While a full autopsy report has not been released, Dunn alleged the deputies did not follow standard protocol when they approached the vehicle. The deputies had been investigating Ryan Twyman on suspicion of felony weapons charges.
“Police are trained to get out of the way. That is their training,” Dunn said at the presser. “Killing the driver will not stop the motion of the car.”