Protesters in Los Angeles vowed to hit the streets again Monday to rally against a police shooting of a homeless man, saying officers had already subdued him with Tasers and didn’t need to fire several bullets into his body.
The shooting took place near the Union Rescue Mission homeless shelter in the Skid Row section of Los Angeles, CNN reported. Police, responding to a robbery complaint, arrived at the scene and confronted the 45-year-old man, known on the street as “Africa” and “Brother Africa,” CNN reported. The confrontation turned physical and police then tackled the man, ABC News reported.
That’s when a witness, Anthony Blackburn, started videotaping the incident.
“I had my phone out, you know, videotaping the whole thing ’cause we’ve been hearing on the news about police brutality,” Blackburn said to KABC, a local CNN affiliate. “I just wanted to film it and just make sure everything was alright. But I ended up seeing a tragedy.”
Editor’s note: Video of the LAPD shooting can be seen below. Be warned, it is extremely graphic.
The video shows four officers at one point wrestling with the suspect, trying to subdue him, and then an officer pulling a Taser and firing it.
A voice is heard yelling, “Drop the gun!” And shortly after, five shots ring out, shocking bystanders.
One witness yelled, CNN reported: “Why did y’all shoot that man? Y’all got (him) Tased. Why did y’all shoot that man?”
Fox News reported that witnesses have vowed to launch another protest in the streets and that “Africa” was a homeless man who was the victim of police brutality.
A Twitter message sent out shortly after midnight by one protester included a photograph of a gathering of mourners at Pershing Square Police, with the accompanying text: “Circle up @ #pershingsquare for the brother known as ‘Africa,’ murdered by @LAPD on #SkidRow,” CNN reported.
Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says the homeless man shown in a video being shot by Los Angeles police was unarmed.
Police and members of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, meanwhile, say they’ve launched an internal investigation and will be reviewing the video.