Media spotlight shines on police shooting of an Echo Park man named Dizzy

Family and friends being interviewed by news crews.

Martinez’ wife, Gina Benavidez (right) at today’s press conferenceNews crews interviewing family and friends of David “Dizzy” Martinez.

The northwest corner of Sunset Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue was more chaotic than normal this afternoon as English and Spanish-language news crews descended on Echo Park to cover a sidewalk press conference featuring the family and friends of David “Dizzy” Martinez, who was shot multiple times last week by police officers. Officers said they fired upon Martinez because it appeared  the 47-year-old Echo Park man was pointing a gun at them. But a weapon was not recovered.  Martinez survived the March 19 shooting but remains at L.A. County-USC Medical Center, where he has undergone several operations and remains heavily sedated, his family said.

Martinez’ common-law wife, Gina Benavidez, said she and her 47-year-old husband and sister-in-law, Sophia Muñoz , went to buy tacos shortly after midnight on March 19 at a taco truck when the shooting occurred. He was not armed,  Benavidez said.

Martinez was waiting at the corner of Sunset and Echo Park while his common-law wife, Gina Benavidez, and his sister, Sophia Muñoz, ordered tacos a block away on Logan Street when police cars raced down Sunset and the women heard shouting and then gunshots.  “I thought he was dead,” Muñoz said of her brother as he lay bleeding on the sidewalk. “He would never hurt anyone.”

Both women said Martinez was not armed.

LAPD has provided only a few details of the shooting as the incident remains under investigation.

TV camerawoman shoots a scene in front of a cardboard “Get Well Dizzy” card set up near the sidewalk where he was shot.

Related Links:

  • Family of man shot in Echo Park calls for end of violence. Patch
  • Relatives say Echo Park man shot by by LAPD was unarmed. KPCC
  • Salen a manifestarse contra la violencia policiaca. Univision34


  1. I hope those pigs pay for what they did. Opening fire that recklessly with intent to kill is insane. I don’t know Dizzy at all or his family, but I really hope the best for them.

    • I’ve commented at length in other reports on this incident, so I will try to be brief this time.

      While this is not Dizzy’s fault and he did not deserve this, it is his freaked reaction resulting in him suddenly turning and running toward the police. That sudden turn and run at the police makes this not necessarily a “pig” incident. The damn situation the police created was a godawful disaster of everyone freaked out — including the police with Dizzy charging at them. But the police are responsible for creating that situation, not Dizzy.

      And as for creating that situation, there definitively is the possibility that racial profiling is what got ti started. Dizzy wasn’t doing anything, but they just instantly decided he was the gunman they were looking for! I can’t see any reason for that presumption other than racial profiling.

      The police were there on a report of a man with a gun, and they thought Dizzy was the man — and he was charging at them, and they feared it was a gun in his hand. The police feared they had a split second to react, and they fired, to defend themselves.

      But in the end, there was nothing to defend against, Dizzy was just freaked — freaked by the incident the police created in the manner in which they blasted in and screeching to a halt, jumping out and guns drawn and coming at him yelling. Anyone would freak at that, and Dizzy did. But Dizzy didn’t create that situation, the police did.

      There might be fine details about what the police did and how the did it that make a difference, but without that, there is reasonable cause here for them to fear Dizzy — so there is no criminal act on their part.

      But the police created this situation — and they are fully liable for what happened because of it.

      I think LAPD needs to do a major review of its tactics in responding to such calls, and in their tactics about coming at people with guns drawn. And about racial profiling. Clearly, their current approach to that is disastrous, and unacceptable, we are all in danger of that kind of situation — and it is the police who create that kind of situation.

      • I understand your points, but it seems you’re contradicting yourself. If the police had “reasonable cause … to fear Dizzy,” then how are they fully liable for what happened?

        • your conscience @ ep

          Also, no one knows if there was a squad car racing up on him on the other side of that wall, you can’t see the parking lot from the video footage. It looks like he was frightened by what was on the other side of that wall, and that may be the reason he turned around so quickly…That is why you belive none of what you hear and half of what you see…

        • They are fully liable under law because they created the situation. they are the ones who came screaming in and jumped out with guns, freaking people out.

          Even if they then had “reasonable cause” because of unknowns, that doesn’t change the fact that they created the situation — and that in fact Dizzy was not a threat, had no gun.

          • That might be a moral argument, but it’s not a legal argument. The police can argue that they were there in response to a call, and when they tried to question David, he ran from them, then turned around and charged them, at which point they had a reasonable fear for their own safety. I think that’s the central question: Did the police have a reasonable fear for their safety? I don’t know the answer since I wasn’t there and the video isn’t that clear, but I know that in general the legal system seems to give the police the benefit of the doubt. (And I think that’s probably correct, in cases like this.)

          • Since when does routine questioning involve screaming and drawn guns? HENRY is fundamentally correct. The officers created the situation and the reactions of untrained civilians can’t be blamed for that. Btw, was the original “shooting incident” ever resolved? Or has that been totally eclipsed by the shooting incident contributed by the officers?

          • if you’re a cop chasing someone in close pursuit with a gun drawn and they suddenly turn toward you what are you supposed to do? Unless they unlawfully threatened his life or something what happened before is irrelevant. They where screaming? (so you say) So what. That’s not a reason to run. I’m usually anti cop but this case really demonstrates how these cases can develop and how a cop can reasonably act in self defense thinking there might be a gun. Even though there is video evidence people still want to blame this on the cops actions, during and before the incident. Huh?

          • Actually, that is the legal argument in court. Plenty of cases turn on it. I’m not even saying that I favor it or don’t favor it, only that that is how it is.

            And this is very different from the police witnessing a crime and chasing the perpetrator, in which case the perpetrator, generally speaking, created the situation. Dizzy wasn’t committing a crime. Gee, even the police haven’t suggested he was. The police created this situation. That they were on a legitimate call and that Dizzy turned and went toward them can serve to keep the liability down from what it otherwise would be, the punitive damages in particular, but they remain liable.

            As for screaming in, I’m talking about racing in with sirens blaring.

            And yes, they got out and pointed guns, and shouted orders at him — hey, that’s how he knew they were coming after him. They didn’t just gently get out of the car and politely ask to speak with him, question him! They were answering a call about someone with a gun, and they treated him as someone with a gun.

          • Running from the polices IS a crime. That is the crime that created this situation. Questioning someone “loudly” or whatever isn’t a crime. Neither is racing to a scene (where a gun is in question). What should the do? Walk quietly to the scene?

          • You can’t make Dizzy out to be the criminal here, and so say he should have been gunned down. That is simply stretching beyond anything reasonable. And police are NOT allowed to shoot even a perpetrator they witness commit a crime and who is running from them unless it is so serious an offense that the pubic safety is in the balance. And actually, running from the police is NOT a crime if you are doing so in self defense. I expect Dizzy feared for his life — and so would I if someone were pointing a gun at me, as they were at Dizzy.

            And mind you, no one was “questioning” Dizzy. They were pointing guns and shouting commands, generally terrifying him. I certainly would be terrified by that. Whether that is necessary tactics or not, it still terrorizes people, and they will react as someone terrorized, which isn’t likely to be a very smart reaction. You better not use terrorizing tactics if you’re not prepared with a better way to handle a terrorized reaction to them.

            What Dizzy did, in a freaked and reactionary and unconsidered sudden turn around and going back toward the police was not a smart idea. But you can’t make that out to be a crime!

          • OK “shouting” commands isnt illegal either. But running from the commands of a police officer is illegal so yeah that is a crime. And darting back toward on officer who is pointing a gun at you does put people at risk that’s the whole point. Just because something isn’t considered doesn’t means its not a crime.

  2. I personally know his wife and him it was just wrong all across the border every time the cops f up they always back themselves up by saying there was a gun involvrjust like those women that got shot up When the Donner incident was accuring please they no they were wrong but will cover it up or at least to try covering it up by saying that they were armed

  3. Get well Big David we are praying for you.

  4. does no one relize that if he didnt do anything wrong and he truley was just ordering tacosbhe would have never ran from the police and never got into tjis situation he ran he turned towards the police andbpointed it was dark and they opened fire if i was in the polices shoes i would have done the same thing im not risking forbmebnot to go home to my family because of some idiot gang banger so you want to live thatblife youbtend to oay a price

    • What did you just say ?

    • your conscience @ ep

      Here we go with insults again! Idiot person who has an opinion. I really don’t care for you idiot pilgrims either, get over it. Look you live in Echo Park, and expect a cholo to move, retire, or what just wish them death…Sarah, I guess you are entitled to feel that way…For what reason? We will never know, you must of had your heart broken by a Chicano or something.

    • Absolutely wrong, Sarah.

      People dontp; run becuase etheyare doing something wrong. They run becuase theyare scared. And peolel willbe scared for anynumber of reasons, not onlybecuase hteywere doing something wrong.

      I would definitely be scarred all to hell if cops came screaming in. And I would be even more so, completely freaked if they jumped out and pulled out guns and pointed them at me! It doesn’t matter that they are police, since as far as I’m concerned, ANYONE threatening me, most especially by pointing a gun, is a deeply dangerous person. I have to do whatever it takes to save myself, to save my life from being shot. No one pointing a gun at my can be trusted not to shoot — as Dizzy found out the hard way.

      And in a fraction of a second, anyone might react in anyway — and that completely unconsidered reaction might turn out to be the worst, most foolish thing to do.

      And that is what the situation was with Dizzy, not that he was doing something wrong.

      You know what they say when you ASSUME — you make an ASS out of U and Me. You just assumed that Dizzy was doing something wrong.

      • Henry, I’ve been pulled over around 20 times in my life; I’m in my early 40s and I think I have 16 or 17 tickets for speeding or driving infractions, mostly in my teens and early 20’s, and 95% of which I deserved. Anyway, I’ve never had any problems with the police. When they pull me over, I don’t make any sudden movements, I answer their questions honestly, and if I need to reach into my glove compartment or center console for my license or registration, I tell them ahead of time. I don’t kiss their ass or call them “Sir,” but I don’t act belligerently either.

        Cops are trained to read people, and even though it might seem they’re a bit paranoid, we live in a town where a lot of gang members view “jacking a cop” or even shooting a cop as earning them stripes, and if they’re headed to prison anyway, they just made a name for themselves. I wish police could use non-lethal force, but tasers probably aren’t as reliable or quick, and if someone is running from them, then turns around and charges them, they probably assume that person is a threat. That said, I don’t always excuse their actions; years ago, when two rookie officers shot a homeless woman to death because she brandished a screwdriver, I was fully in favor of the cops losing their jobs and being prosecuted.

      • well if you put it like this,, both a cop and a gang member, with a gun, of the 100%. people, who you will be afraid,, and be honest please,,

    • I agreed with you sarah. He should have never ran from the police.

      • True, he should not have. But that doesn’t mean he was up to something wrong. That simply means he freaked — even if he should not have. Everyone reacts their own way. Everyone has had their own prior experiences. There is no one size fits all. To assert there is, and that anyone who runs is guilty, is just ridiculous.

    • It has already been confirmed that Dizzy-Was-Doing-Nothing-Wrong(!) nor was he an armed shooter as was originally reported. There is no excuse for the prejudice that some of you continue to cling too. I also do expect officers to risk their lives so that WE can return home to our families. That’s what they signed-up for and that’s what we’re paying for. The contrary results in innocent civilians being shot and bystanders running for cover from stray bullets whenever an officer happens to feel “threatened” by a civilian running A-Way or reaching for the sky. At which point everyone but the officer’s lives are at risk, which is the opposite of what we expect to happen upon the arrival of “Peace” officers.

  5. I was really surprised at how honest everyone being interviewed was about this situation. They all admitted that Dizzy was real stupid for running away and turning toward the cops as though he had a gun. I was shocked to see them all say that they failed Dizzy knowing that he had major problems with alcohol and drugs by not helping him. I’m relieved to know that they are not doing this all for the money.

    …looks like society has a chance after all! YAY!

  6. your conscience @ ep

    Bless you David, on this Easter Sunday…I think it a miracle that you are alive, when it is not your time, it is not your time. Christ has risen, Lazareth has risen, you will rise if it is gods will…And no ones opinion can stop what is fate or destined…

  7. OK. people of a 100%, who you be afraid, a gang member, or a cop, with a gun, I think here’s the answer you’re looking for,

  8. Nice to see they dressed-up to be on TV!

    • “they” meaning who? Beanteam, if you’re accusing those who were on TV of being gangsters, please show proof otherwise, you are racially profiling.

      • Dude, you are really reaching for something that isn’t there. Black and brown people can no longer play the race card. We have a black president. Nough said.

        • no i’m serious beanteam. please define “they”.. The President’s ethnicity has NOTHING to do with the Dizzy debate, so please Bean Team – define “they”.

          • pretty sure by they beanteam means the ladies in the photo at the top of the post. and sarcastically is saying they dressed up to be on tv. AND btw dressing up means putting on sassy clothes not gangster garb. duh

          • Thanks lisal, I don’t know how anything else could have been interpreted through my comment. It’s hard to communicate with dumb people.

          • When has “gangster” become a race? How can you racially profile a gangster, genius?

          • Not Another Neighbor

            I agree. When did ‘they’ become pejorative?

  9. your conscience @ ep


  10. Rott in piss dizzy

  11. TED the driving instructor

    Dizzy is just one of many dirtbags staining EP. He and many like him are of no value and only harm the quality of life for the law abiding and hard working folks of EP. Keep up the good work LAPD.



    • If it keeps you out of trouble, you go ahead and pray to your little jesus…

      • BEANTEAM is a troll. Forum Moderator, can we please remove his/her trash from this and other threads? THANKS!!!!

        • Your Vecino, The moderator is smart enough to know that a differing opinion doesn’t constitute disbandment. That sort of stuff only happens in communist countries…


    • Oh shut up dont try to start some god talk and aint nobody hating we all know your man is a piece of s*** just like the rest of the mechos s*** your probably a mecho too so f*** you too you love that lame so much but you cant keep him from begging for money in the streets for hes next fix ohhhhh wow! !! Lol HOW LAME

      • Hey, somebody needs to tell you in as clear language as possible that your hateful, gang-related comments aren’t acceptable. If you don’t realize yet that the gang life will lead you nowhere, that’s fine; every man is on his own life path. But I don’t know what gang would approve of its members “dissing” someone else’s grieving spouse on an anonymous internet forum. It just isn’t a very stand-up thing to do.

  15. your conscience @ ep

    Ignore the leva who claims mayberry. He’s selling wolf tickets, for the green light gang. Internet banger, pc , cell soldier. If he hated Dizzy, so much how come he never did nothing? Oh,dry snitching twurp.


      Hahahaha yup mayberry strt rifa lame hahahaha we never did nothing hahaha so he never told u when we beat him up on reservoir all leaking from hes nose hahaha or when we punked him for hes nice n cold beer wqlking out of hi ho or when we kiked him out of Mc Donalds hahahaha on this side age dnt matter homeboy we’ll serve u anyday hahahhahahahhaa he was probably too embarrased to tell u levas n u wanna talk about green light hahahhahaha dont hate leva CANT STOP US !!!

  16. If he’s 47 years old and hanging out on the corner, drinking all day, where does he get his money to buy booze?

  17. On 3/19 we had a shooting in Cypress Park. A man opened fire on a driver, who was shot and drove himself to the hospital. We have so much violence in our communities that we all want to point fingers at someone.

    I do think it is sad a man was shot by the police, but at the same time with so much violence in our communities the threat is always there that a person is armed and dangerous. I think it is frustrating when we all want to live in a safe community, and if in the case an innocent person gets hurt or killed there is a feeling powerless over our environment.

    Everyone knows our rights, but we also need to know our responsibilities for communities. Residents, business owners, the police and everyone else involved in our communities need to make them a safer place.

  18. Beside, alcoholic, panhandler, shoplifter, he harassed young women and ladies, passing by, this is a facts and true. He was a pest, if you want to verify just ask the stores and restaurants located at Sunset.
    Now they say he was such a nice guy, who didn’t harm a fly. I wonder why he run away

    • “I wonder why he run away?” Not even the officers have been able to determine that, which brings us to the central question of this entire incident: Why was Dizzy shot as if he was armed and attacking police officers? (Hint: Dizzy was not armed and was obviously not preparing to dismember officers with is bare hands).

  19. All these coments are making me dizzy 🙂

  20. your conscience @ ep

    Its monday at 2:40pm, and you are blogging on the eastsider. How do you get your rent? I have the same question for all the ones that hang out at the coffee shops all day, except they drive fancy cars and drink expensive lattes all day. Someone that loves them takes care of them. And if you want to know who’s them, it is the ones on their lap tops at the coffee shops.

    • Your a retard, learn to write so people can understand you.

    • You’re generalizing. Many of the folks who hang out at coffee shops have jobs in the entertainment industry, and they might work long hours for three months and then have a few months off. Others might work as university professors two or three days a week, and others are freelancers who work from home (or from a coffeehouse). Some of us work as K-12 teachers, and we have the day off. My point is that you can’t assume that someone else is supporting all of the folks who populate the coffeehouses and blog postings during the day.

      • @ James


      • One also can’t assume that a drunk panhandler poses a lethal threat to aremed police officers but that’s the argument some are trying to establish to justify the shooting of an unarmed civilian not to mention a clip of stray bullets flying through the air and god knows where(?!). I only assume that the leisurely wealthy hanging out at coffe shops must have access to the best drugs. Perhaps I’m wrong but if I am it would be a dramatic departure from the profile of “industry” types I’ve become familiar with.

        • Not Another Neighbor

          Great generalization there. Only the ‘leisurely wealthy’ must be high enough on drugs to disagree with you. The man of the working class.

  21. I would like to suggest that perhaps because he had recently been released from jail he might have had more reasons to run from the police (we’ve read of the accounts of ill-treatment of prisoners in the jail, yes?) and then to think, no, maybe they’ll shoot me in the back so to turn around and run toward them thinking it would be safer.
    In order to try to understand what he did, we need to know what could have happened in jail.
    I’m not trying to say who was wrong, but remember other people from very different backgrounds have also freaked out around police…the image of police authority (and possible mis-use of same) weights heavier on some people for whatever reason.
    You don’t have to be guilty of anything to be made to feel guilty…that sort of control starts early in school..or church…or family…
    Only a psychopath (or whatever the correct term) never feels guilt.

  22. He has a tattoo on his face that says “I’m still here”…I’m serious ask anyone who knows him…dizzy is kool as hell,and I think he just hit the jackpot by getting shot by the cops he’s gonna get some kinda cash for sure especially cus he wasn’t armed.& I know for a fact that he’s been pronounced dead once before this from an overdose!!!!haha long live dizzy!!!

  23. Bad situation — but hv to say it’s interesting having a community sounding board in the Internet age to hash it out. There are obviously differing pts of view.

    Can only say EP and surroundings hv had this sort of thing happen for a very long time. I grew up with guys who, when fishing EP Lake were tough but ordinary inner city boys, saw them harden when the got to Virgil Jr. High, and the toughest (like Randy and Joe, both of whom fished the lake and whom I played 10th grade football with) never made it to age 18. They became two hard-heads whose ends could have been predicted, one by pills, other by knife in prison. EP, Frogtown, Dogtown, Lincoln Hts., El Sereno, Pico-Union hv seen hundreds if not thousands of similar stories over the decades.

    One thing guys from the tough parts of the city know is that unless you stop and drop, or stop and raise hands and freeze you may hv problems with the PD. And sometimes you may have probs no matter what you do.

    I don’t know what happened at the corner in this incident. Only know that I’m not surprised — to hear of his alleged problems, of the PD shooting someone in a chaotic situation, or that the fam says ‘he would never hurt anyone.’

    I know this — hv had guns drawn on me by PD by mistake, and hv frozen solid like a statue and kept my mouth shut till told what to do. And am here to write about it.

  24. I’m curious to know if he had drugs on him at the time. That would explain a lot…

  25. What I believe is the primary cause for the police’s over-reaction and at the core of prejudice expressed by many posters here is that a shooting incident was reported, upon arrival the officers charged towards a “usual suspect” (i.e., racial profiling), and the situation proceeded as usual with the intimidating, heavy-handed, and armed response that the LAPD has become notorious for. That sequence of events is as old as Dizzy himself. Some of us have learned the “drill” (which is still no guarantee that you won’t be shot and buried with a cover-up) while others bitterly resent being assumed “guilty” even at an age when we should no longer be confused with “active gang members” by anybody in the know when it comes to gang violence in the area. Shouldn’t the LAPD be among those “in the know”?

    • racial profiling? the guy just got out of jail for an open container, I’m sur ethey know who he is, he seems like a likely suspect in any EP situation. c’mon man…….. the cops were likely not white/European caucasians either.

      • Considering that officers were not looking for any “guy” who just got out of jail for an open container renders your point moot. It also doesn’t justify shooting this “guy” several times and spraying errant bullets throughout the immediate area placing the lives of innocent bystanders at risk. Btw, the LAPD comes in one color: Blue. Common ethnicity is no protection. “Cmon Man?!” Act like you Know.

        • Folks keep playing that racial profiling card, runs from police with guns drawn… I know enough. Put it in context.

  26. West up to the vato Dizzy. Hope you get better soon. As for you net bangers, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOUR OPINION IS, get a life. For you urbanpriusdriving hipsters this IS and ALWAYS will be our neighborhood. Your always welcomed to stay but you ain’t invited to play. Lastly, for them PIGS “DON’T BE SCARED”, show us respect and in return respect you will gain. WEST WEST UP.

    • Mr. WEST WEST UP. You have a very short sighted view of history. It has not ALWAYS been, nor will it ALWAYS BE “YOUR” neighborhood.

    • As a person who OWNS and PAYS a shit load of TAXES on FOUR buildings in Echo Park, I’d comfortably say that MY opinion counts. Possibly a lot more than yours.

      And MY opinion is that you are a misguided moron who needs a spanking from the daddy he never had.

  27. David “dizzy” is actually my unlce and has passed away due to seizures caused by this shooting. he passed away at a hospital getting a check up May. 15, 2013. Our family HAD a case against the police but it was denied on May 13 but was recieved the day of his death.

  28. Dizzy didnt have drugs on him, he was holding a cell phone and the poilice that it was a gun. about 10-15 minutes before this shooting, someone had called about a gun fire down the street so that might also be what caused the shooting

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