LA police kill man during struggle

Published: Monday 2nd March 2015 by The News Editor

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In a fatal encounter captured on video, three Los Angeles police officers shot and killed a man during a struggle over one of the officer’s guns, authorities said.

The graphic video widely circulated on social media within a few hours of the incident brought attention to the death of the man, who wound up wrestling with police amid the tents, sleeping bags and rubbish of Skid Row, where many of the city’s homeless stay.

Other recent deaths during police actions in New York and in Ferguson, Missouri, and the lack of prosecution of the officers involved, have brought nationwide protest.

The three officers, one of whom is a sergeant, shot the man as they struggled on the ground for control of one of the police officer’s weapons, after a stun gun proved ineffective, Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr Andrew Smith said. The officers had been responding to a report of a robbery.

Police said they planned to use the video in their investigation.

Mr Smith said the department would attempt to amplify the video’s sound and pictures to work out exactly what happened. He said at least one of the officers was also wearing a body camera.

On the video – which had been viewed 4.3 million times over the first 12 hours that it was posted – six officers can be seen responding to the scene. They begin wrestling with the man as he takes swings at them.

Two of the officers break away to subdue and handcuff a woman who had picked up one of their dropped batons.

The struggle becomes increasingly blurry and distant but shouting can be heard, including the word “gun”, followed by five apparent gunshots.

Police did not release the man’s name or give any other identifying details, and Mr Smith said he did not know whether the man was homeless.

Witnesses told the Los Angeles Times that the man is known on the street as “Africa”, and that he had been there for four or five months.

One witness, Jose Gil, 38, told the Times he saw the man swinging at police, then heard one of them shout “he’s got my gun!” before the shots were fired.

Published: Monday 2nd March 2015 by The News Editor

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