DA Declines to File Case Against Long Beach Police Officer Over Fatal 2015 Shooting

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to file a case against a Long Beach police officer for the shooting death of a man who was holding a knife inside an arcade, according to a document released on Thursday, Aug. 13.

Prosecutors found that Officer Vuong Nguyen “had an honest belief in the need for self-defense and defense of others when he used deadly force against Mharloun Saycon” at Looff’s Lite-A-Line in Long Beach on Dec. 14, 2015.

“We further find that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Nguyen’s decision to use deadly force was not objectively reasonable,” prosecutors concluded in their 25-page report on the shooting.

Police were sent to the arcade following a 9-1-1 call about an intoxicated man brandishing a knife, and officers found the 39-year-old Carson resident seated on a chair inside the business with a folding knife in his hands while about 15 to 20 customers were inside the arcade, according to the report.

Saycon made no attempts to comply when officers ordered him to drop the knife and get on his knees, with subsequent efforts to use less-lethal force, two Taser deployments and a baton strike proving ineffective, according to the report.

Prosecutors noted that an argument can be made based upon the statements of several witnesses that Saycon may have remained seated throughout the entire encounter and had not charged at the officers. But they noted in the report that he refused to comply with verbal commands, proved resistant to less- lethal means to disarm him, opened the knife from a closed position and subsequently tested positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine.

The city agreed to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Saycon’s family, according to the family’s attorney.

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