Los Angeles police shot and killed a homeless man in the Skid Row neighborhood after failing to subdue him. That is about the only part of the story anyone agrees on despite video of the incident that has gone viral.
According to the Los Angeles Times, officers were responding to a 911 call about a potential robbery on Sunday (March 1).
Officers approached a homeless man (who went by the name “Africa”) and were unable to subdue him when he began to resist. The LAPD claims that at one point a struggle ensued over an officer’s gun, that’s when the fatal shots rang out, leaving the homeless man dead.
In video of the incident that was uploaded to Facebook, before the shots ring out, a woman runs up from behind and grabs one of the officers’ fallen nightsticks. Two cops promptly separated from the pack and restrained her. That left four cops tussling with the man.
A cop is heard shouting “He’s going for my gun,” before five shots rings out.
Witness account are all over the place. Per the LA Times:
Witnesses at the scene identified the victim by his street name, “Africa”, and gave conflicting accounts of what they saw.
Dennis Horne, 29, said Africa had been fighting with someone else in his tent when police arrived.
When Africa refused to comply with a police order to come out of the tent, officers used the Taser on him and dragged him out, Horne said. The officers tackled Africa to the ground, where he continued to fight, which led to the fatal shooting, according to Horne.
“It’s sad,” Horne said. “There’s no justification to take somebody’s life.”
Another witness, Lonnie Franklin, 53, said five to six officers pulled up in three to four cars as Africa was lying face down on the sidewalk. The officers approached with guns drawn yelling, ”Down, down,” according to Franklin.
When Africa got up and started fighting, the officers “went straight to lethal force,” Franklin said.
But Jose Gil, 38 , said he saw the man swinging at the police and then heard one of the officers say, “Gun, gun, he’s got my gun!” before police fired multiple shots.
What we see, and don’t understand, is how at least four cops, reportedly with tasers, are unable to restrain a man without lethal force. They had the man face down on the ground, so how is he able to reach for a cop’s gun?
Watch the graphic video below. Tell us what you see in the comments.