Police investigating why officer turned away Nipsey Hussle shooting witness
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Police Department has launched an internal affairs investigation after an officer turned away a key witness to the Nipsey Hussle shooting who came to police, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.
The witness was the female driver of the getaway car used by the shooting suspect, Eric Holder. He has pleaded not guilty.
Holder is accused of shooting Nipsey Hussle, along with two other people, outside of Hussle’s store on Slauson Avenue in South Los Angeles on March 31. Hussle, whose legal name was Ermias Asghedom, died from his wounds, police said.
Holder fled the scene and was arrested two days later in Bellflower, police said. He remains in jail on a $6.5 million bail and faces a sentence of up to life in prison if convicted.
On April 2, two days after the shooting, a woman identified only as witness #1 went to the 77th Street police station but was turned away by a desk officer, according to her testimony during a May grand jury hearing.
LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein confirmed to the LA Times that the witness went to the station and was turned away. Rubenstein told the newspaper that “early indications” show the witness was turned away due to a miscommunication. “We want to make sure all of policies and procedures were followed,” Rubenstein said, declining to comment further to the LA Times.
CNN has reached out to the LAPD for comment.
In May, the witness gave testimony to the grand jury. The transcripts were released by a judge on June 27. During the hearing the witness recalled taking Holder to the area where she saw him talk to Hussle before she asked Hussle for a photo. The witness said during her testimony that shortly after she returned to her car and posted the photo of her with Hussle on social media. Holder got back in her car and ate some food, then asked her to wait and walked away.
The next thing she heard was gunshots. She testified that Holder returned to her vehicle with a gun and when she asked what happened he responded, “Shut up, you talk too much, before I slap you.”
But the witness said that she wasn’t sure that Holder had shot anyone. “I just felt like I know there was shooting going on. I didn’t know if he was the shooter,” the witness explained to the court. “I didn’t know if he was getting shot at. I just know something had happened.”
The witness testified that after the shooting she dropped off Holder at a relative’s home before she returned to her house and spoke with her mother. It was then that she saw people commenting on her photo with Hussle that he had been shot and might have died, she said.
“My heart had dropped,” the witness told the court about seeing that the star had been shot and killed. “I hurry up and ran in my mom’s room and told her like ‘Mom, I was just there and I took a picture with him.'”
But she told the court even after seeing the reports on social media she wasn’t sure that Holder had shot Hussle. She picked him up from his relative’s house and let him spend the night at her mother’s house, according to her testimony. It wasn’t until the next day that the witness says she saw social media posts saying that Holder was the shooter. She testified that she picked Holder up and confronted him with the social media posts.
According to her testimony, Holder didn’t respond and was breathing hard. Later that day, her car and license plate were on the news and she decided to go to police.The witness says her mother called police after the news broke and was advised to come down to the station the next day. But when she arrived at the 77th Street station and explained the situation, she testified she was told, “Don’t worry about it.”
She tried to explain that she had seen her car on the news, but an officer just responded, “Don’t listen to the news,” she said during her testimony. The witness left the station and went to work. However, she testified that her mother was still seeing her car on the news.
She called the police again and was told to come in. She was interviewed by detectives later that day and gave them the information they asked for, the testimony says. Holder was arrested that afternoon.
The witness has been given immunity for her testimony in the case.