Former Napster COO Milton Olin Jr. was killed while biking last December when a Los Angeles Sheriff's Deputy lost control of his vehicle while using a laptop. Now, the L.A. County District Attorney is declining to bring charges against the deputy, saying there is not enough evidence to prove negligence.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, officials acknowledge Deputy Andrew Wood was distracted at the time of the accident, but was "acting lawfully."
"Wood entered the bicycle lane as a result of inattention caused by typing into his (Mobile Digital Computer)," according to the declination letter prepared by the Justice System Integrity Division of the District Attorney's Office and released Wednesday. "He was responding to a deputy who was inquiring whether the fire investigation had been completed. Since Wood was acting within the course and scope of his duties when he began to type his response, under Vehicle Code section 23123.5, he acted lawfully."
The law does not prohibit officers from using an electronic wireless communications device in the performance of their duties, according to the letter. Furthermore, prosecutors said it was "reasonable" that Wood would have felt that an immediate response was necessary so that a Calabasas deputy wouldn't unnecessarily respond to [a fire call].
A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the department and the deputy. Meanwhile, as LAist notes, the Los Angeles cycling community has become outraged that the deputy avoided charges.
If a @LASDHQ deputy negligently fired his gun and killed someone, he'd face charges. But do it with a patrol car, and it's just an oops.
— Ted Rogers (@bikinginla) August 27, 2014
Just horrendous. Law enforcement or not, one should not be distracted while driving.Someone was killed while riding legally in the bike lane
— Megan Lynch (@may_gun) August 27, 2014