An altercation Sunday in Los Angeles in which police killed a man in the Skid Row area is putting new scrutiny on law enforcement’s use of deadly force. Police say the man tried to grab an officer’s weapon. A dramatic video posted online shows the man was on the ground struggling with officers when he was shot.
The LAPD says two officers sustained minor injuries and were treated and released. Police say three officers fired their weapons.
Here’s a summary of what happened:
- After officers responded to reports of a robbery around noon Sunday, “the suspect began fighting and physically resisting the officers’ attempts to take him into custody,” the Los Angeles Police Department says.
- The department says a Taser did not subdue the man, who continued to fight. He then fell to the ground.
- “While on the ground, the suspect and officers struggled over one of the officer’s handguns and then an officer-involved shooting occurred,” the LAPD says.
A video that was posted to Facebook by witness Anthony Blackburn shows that after at least three patrol cars responded to the scene, a frenzied struggle ensues, with officers trying to hold on to the man. Several officers grapple with him shortly before shots ring out.
“One of the officers shouts at the suspect to ‘drop the gun’ before firing,” reports member station KPCC. “At least five shots can be heard.”
Immediately after the shots are fired, a bystander yells, “Oh my God!”
More yelling follows, including streams of expletives. “Why y’all shoot that man?” one person asks police.
As the officers disperse to keep people back from the scene, onlookers yell at them, calling them cowards. One officer, a black man, is taunted as a “sell-out.”
A video of the incident, filmed by eyewitness Anthony Blackburn, has been viewed some 5 million times since it was posted to Facebook on Sunday. (We’ve deleted our link to the video, as it seems Blackburn has removed it from his Facebook feed.)
Investigators are now reviewing the incident, which was likely filmed by several other cameras, as well. An additional amateur video surfaced Monday morning, and nearby buildings had surveillance cameras, according to The Los Angeles Times.
In addition, the newspaper reports, “The encounter was recorded by body cameras worn by at least one of the officers. It was unclear what that recording shows.”
The police department’s specialized Force Investigative Division began looking into the case Sunday and is asking witnesses to step forward.