Man who led authorities on wild chase from O.C. to L.A. County charged with 18 felonies
An officer was captured on a cell phone video chasing a suspect into the Los Angeles National Forest and into a stream while holding a gun against the suspect’s neck, then pulling him out of the stream, prosecutors said.
Lt. Robert D. Miller, a 14-year LAPD veteran assigned to the Hollywood Division, led the chase to the San Gabriel Mountains in O.C. that ended near Interstate 75 after the suspect tossed his backpack and ran off.
Miller was charged Wednesday with six felonies, including attempted murder and false imprisonment. He was being held on $1 million bail set by Los Angeles Municipal Judge Gary Weitzner, who approved it as part of a diversion program.
Miller faces two counts of felony attempted murder, four counts of false imprisonment, resisting arrest, three counts of evading an officer’s duty, and one count of discharging a firearm from a moving vehicle.
Miller was the third LAPD officer charged in a single year under a new Los Angeles County law that allows prosecutors to seek more severe felony or even life prison sentences for officers accused of violating suspects’ civil rights during a chase, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
The first officer to be charged was William Adams, who was sentenced to 17 years in prison for running down a mentally ill man who ran from him with a knife in 2011. Adams was one of more than a dozen officers on the scene of the collision and has since retired. The second was Officer Mike Zavala, who pleaded guilty to felony hit-and-run a year ago and was sentenced to probation.
The law, which was approved by the Legislature last year and was intended to curb police officer misconduct, was a reaction to the 2011 fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida. In that case, Officer George Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges following a double-murder trial.
The law also allows for the immediate termination of officers who are on administrative leave for up to a year if prosecutors charge them with violating the civil rights of a suspect. It is retroactive to the day the law passed.
The law was initially intended to be used only in cases where a suspect died during a chase and the department investigated the case after the suspect was identified.
In the case of Miller, a sergeant with the