updated 6/9/2005 10:35:32 PM ET 2005-06-10T02:35:32

Thirteen sheriff’s deputies will be disciplined for firing about 120 shots at an unarmed driver last month, an incident that sparked outrage in the community and prompted some deputies to apologize.

One deputy will be suspended for 15 days. The others will receive shorter suspensions or written reprimands, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said Thursday.

While some community members hailed the announcement, others said they were disappointed. Lolitha Jones, who held a sign protesting the shooting, said the deputies should have faced tougher measures.

“An ordinary citizen going down the street on a rampage like that would have gone straight to jail,” she said.

Winston Hayes, 44, was struck by four bullets in the May 9 shooting, which was captured on videotape following a brief pursuit of Hayes’ sport utility vehicle. The vehicle matched the description of one thought to be involved in a previous shooting. It was later determined that Hayes was not involved in that incident.

Hayes was hospitalized for about two weeks and now faces charges of evading police and driving under the influence of drugs. One deputy was also slightly wounded.

The shooting spurred anger in Compton, where bullets smashed through windows and hit houses. Distrust of law enforcement runs deep in the community, which has been known in the past for street violence and gangster rap.

Days after the shooting, some deputies issued an apology through their lawyer, Gregory Emerson, who said the officers did not try to “harm or injure or otherwise jeopardize the safety of the individuals” in the community.

Policy shift
Also Thursday, Baca announced a change in the department’s shooting policy regarding vehicles. The policy now mandates that officers train a weapon on a suspect and give specific commands to surrender before considering shootings.

Deputies can still fire when they feel a vehicle is an immediate threat of death or serious injury to deputies or bystanders. However, each deputy must now use his or her own “independent reasoning for using deadly force,” according to the policy.

“We want and will have increased public confidence,” Baca said. “The sheriff’s department can do better and it will do better.”

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