An LAPD cop shot and killed a homeless man on Los Angeles’ Skid Row earlier today as other officers held him facedown on the sidewalk, sparking outrage from dozens of witnesses, calling the cop who pulled the trigger a “sellout” because he was black like the victim.
The incident, which took place around noon, was captured on video by a man named Anthony Blackburn, who uploaded it to Facebook.
The video has now gone viral.
It should be noted that Blackburn held the camera in the horizontal position, which is something way too many people fail to do.
It was the 181st citizen killed by cops this year, according to a Facebook paged called Killed by Police, which is keeping track of the incidents by compiling news articles from around the country of confirmed killings, ranking each death in numerical order.
The recent video shows several cops struggling with the man when a tall, black officer, who apparently is the one that did the shooting, grabbing him by the neck and throwing him down on the sidewalk while several other cops pile on top and start punching the homeless man.
Two other cops run up and knock down a woman standing nearby, handcuffing her. The cops can be heard tasing the homeless man but the scene is obstructed by the other scene.
Shouts of “stop resisting” and “drop the gun” can be heard from the cops before a single gunshot rings out, followed by several more gunshots.
But there is no evidence the homeless man had a gun.
The video shows the man fighting with four Los Angeles police officers on the sidewalk in front of the Union Rescue Mission, 545 S. San Pedro St. A police
spokesman said officers had tried a Taser to subdue the alleged robbery suspect.
“During that struggle, at least one less-than-lethal device, a Taser, was deployed,” said Sgt. Barry Montgomery of the media relations office.
“However, at this time we do not know if that Taser struck the suspect,” he said.
The video does not show that, but apparently picks up as man is pushed to the sidewalk as four officers grab his flailing limbs and his torso. As two
other officers push an intervening man away, the camera angle is blocked and does not detail exactly what happened.
UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times spoke to several witnesses who offered different accounts, including one man who said the man was confronted by police because he had a tent set up on the sidewalk, which is nothing rare on Skid Row.
But a court ruled that they must remove the tents during the day.
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.
Another witness, who asked not to be identified, said the man punched and kicked the officers and reached for one of their service weapons before the officers fired at least seven times.
An area resident, who identified himself as Booker T. Washington, said police had come by repeatedly to ask Africa to take down his tent. People are allowed to sleep on the streets from 9 p.m to 6 a.m., but they are supposed to remove their tents in the daytime under a court agreement.
“This man got shot over a tent,” Washington said.
However, police are claiming they were responding to a “robbery call.”