A Los Angeles police officer who was criminally charged with shooting a fellow cop at an Apple Valley campsite last year has avoided criminal conviction after entering into a diversion program for those with mental disorders, but still faces administrative sanctions and possible firing after LAPD overseers found his actions violated department policies. The dual outcomes reflected two different assessments of the shooting, which a review of LAPD records and San Bernardino County court filings revealed was a harrowing ordeal around a campfire in the remote desert, where Officer Ismael Tamayo imagined phantom threats and unloaded a 9-millimeter Glock at his friends before they fled on foot in search of help. According to police officials who reviewed the incident, the shooting was precipitated by the officers drinking beer and whiskey for hours, and ended in Tamayo breaking almost every conceivable LAPD standard for using deadly force — whether he meant to shoot his fellow officer or not. Tamayo’s attorney and a judge in the separate San Bernardino criminal case, however, honed in on another factor that went entirely unmentioned in the police review: Tamayo’s diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in overseas combat with the U. S. Army. Greg Yacoubian, Tamayo’s attorney, argued in court and in an interview with The Times that Tamayo was suffering from dissociation related to his PTSD, believed he was in a combat setting, and reverted to his military training. He never intended to shoot his friend, LAPD Officer Mark Mascareno, Yacoubian said. According to court records, the presiding judge in Tamayo’s criminal case agreed that Tamayo’s PTSD “played a role in the commission of the offense, ” and that he met other eligibility criteria for the mental health diversion program, including that he did not pose an ongoing threat and would respond well to treatment. The judge reached that conclusion despite opposition from San Bernardino prosecutors, who objected to diversion in the case. Tamayo, who was released on bail in the matter, is now receiving treatment. Mascareno sued Tamayo in a civil case that was later dismissed. His attorney did not respond to a request for comment. Whether Tamayo’s PTSD might impact the adjudication of the administrative case that LAPD officials are pursuing against him remains unclear. A report by LAPD Chief Michel Moore that outlined an internal investigation into the incident and informed the Los Angeles Police Commission’s vote earlier this month finding that Tamayo broke LAPD policies in the encounter made no mention of the diagnosis, which Yacoubian called “outrageous. ”“The commission’s vote was made with critical information withheld, ” Yacoubian said. “The department was provided with documentation related to PTSD dissociation. All of that was ignored. ”Capt.
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