An amateur video has captured the moment when Los Angeles police officers shoot and kill a homeless man in L.A.’s skid row district. Activists are already holding this video up as evidence of police brutality — and they are calling for murder charges for the officers involved.
Despite the fact that the homeless man was on the ground and surrounded by three officers, the LAPD is claiming that the man reached for the officer’s gun in the frantic melee, therefore, the officers were justified in their use of force.
Los Angles police commander Andrew Smith told the Los Angeles Times the man “began fighting and physically resisting the officers.” He said that at one point police tried to restrain him by using a taser, which as “ineffective.” He said the man continued to fight the officers, some of whom fell down — but that scenario is not clear in the video footage.
During the incident, it appears the black officer dropped his baton and a woman grabbed it. The officer can be heard shouting: “Get my stick! Get my stick! Get my stick!” Then two officers take her to the ground and handcuff her.
“At some point in there, a struggle over one of the officer’s weapons occurred,” Smith told the Los Angeles Times. “At that point an officer-involved shooting happened.”
The NSFW video shows the shooting and the aftermath, with a growing crowd shouting profanities and calling the officer involved a “coward” and a “sell-out” because he happened to be a black police officer.
When the news broke, protesters took to Twitter to voice their outrage:
— Che G (@Cheyne_G) March 2, 2015
@TimesLIVE 4 or 5 beating him on the ground then shoot him….lets see how they get away with this one
— VAMOSRAFA! (@Tinkerbell01) March 2, 2015
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