LA sheriff deputy with history of fatalities kills woman who called 911 to report ex-boyfriend

The family of Niani Finlayson is calling for the prosecution of Deputy Ty Shelton, who shot her to death in an incident that matches a situation he was involved in three years ago.

Several people want a Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy with a history of fatalities off the job after he killed a Black woman amid a domestic dispute with her former boyfriend. 

According to The Guardian, the family of Niani Finlayson is calling for the prosecution of Deputy Ty Shelton following the Dec. 4 incident that started, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department said in a statement, when Finlayson phoned authorities to report her ex-boyfriend wouldn’t leave her alone.

Police said “screaming and sounds of a struggle could be heard” during the phone call. According to LASD, deputies could hear screaming when they arrived at the apartment in Lancaster, a city in the northern section of Los Angeles County.

The grieving family of police shooting victim Niani Finlayson (above) is calling for the firing and prosecution of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Ty Shelton, who shot and killed her on Dec. 4 after she called 911 for help. (Photo: Screenshot/

Shelton reportedly opened fire because Finlayson, 27, was threatening her ex-boyfriend with a knife. Finlayson’s family refuted the police narrative, arguing that she was a domestic abuse victim in need of assistance and did not constitute a threat to them.

Lawyers for Finlayson’s kin said she was inside with her 9-year-old daughter, Xaisha, who they claim witnessed the shooting.

“The police lied that my mom was threatening them,” said Xaisha at a press conference alongside her grandparents last Thursday, sharing that she doesn’t know how to respond when her 2-year-old sister asks where their mother is.

“She was my best friend. She was always there for me,” the girl added, her grandfather sitting closely beside her for comfort. “It’s unbelievable that she’s gone and she’s not coming back. I miss my mom.”

Finlayson’s family has filed a $30 million lawsuit against the LASD and the Los Angeles County, alleging assault, wrongful death and civil rights violations.

Finlayson’s mother, Tracie Hall, said her daughter was pursuing dreams of being a nurse and an in-home caregiver, designing clothes and wanted to create a children’s phone app. 

“I’m going to miss my daughter braiding my hair, the simple things. It’s so unfair,” said Hall, The Guardian reported. “I hope Ty Shelton looks himself in the mirror and says: ‘I have destroyed another life for no reason.’ [He] put my granddaughter in so much danger.”

Records indicate that Shelton killed another person, Michael Thomas, 61, under similar circumstances on June 11, 2020. 

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Authorities said Shelton was responding to a possible domestic violence call, and when deputies arrived, they ordered Thomas to open the door. Thomas’ girlfriend later shared that they were engaged in a verbal dispute, that he was unarmed, and that he attempted to use the Fourth Amendment to prevent the cops from entering.

Shelton subsequently shot Thomas in the chest, killing him in a moment not captured on body camera. Prosecutors declined to prosecute Shelton in the case, which was one of several LASD killings that summer that sparked intense protests.

The LASD told theGrio that although it had yet to receive Finlayson’s family’s claim, the department takes all deputy-involved shootings seriously and would release body camera footage from the incident by next week, which is earlier than the required timeframe.

“With any deputy-involved shooting there is a robust review process, which includes the Office of Inspector General, where every aspect of the shooting is thoroughly examined and evaluated to see if Department policies and procedures were followed,” added LASD. “Additionally, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Justice System Integrity Division, conducts a legal analysis to determine whether any criminal charges will be filed and if the shooting was legally justified. The Department is deeply committed to protecting our diverse communities without bias and prejudice.”

There have been several allegations against sheriff’s department deputies reportedly utilizing brutal force against Black women, including one in which the LASD released video capturing a Palmdale incident where a deputy struck a lady in the face twice as she was holding her newborn child.

Thomas’ daughter, Myesha Lopez, expressed her outrage last week, saying she was not shocked to hear that Shelton had shot and killed another person. She said it was especially frustrating because she and others protested, warning that Shelton posed a threat and “that someone else would relive what I experienced.”

“[Shelton] should not be allowed to roam free and continue to have a job and provide for his family,” added Hall, “because my daughter is not here to provide for her family.”

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