On Sunday, March 1st, a video of a man being shot by police officers went viral after Facebook user, Anthony Brown, posted an altercation he recorded. As the investigation continues, the man shot and killed by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has reportedly been identified. His name has not yet been released, but he has been identified by his commonly known street-name, Africa.
Reports say Africa (a supposed mentally-ill man) had been approached by police officers to remove his tent on Skid Row (a homeless community in Los Angeles, California) several times which apparently incited tension. On Skid Row, people are allowed to sleep on the street from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., but they are suppose to remove their tents during the daytime in correspondence with court order. Their was also an alleged fight in the tent that police officers responded too. When Africa didn’t come out the tent after being asked, the officers used a stunned gun to drag him out the tent and tackled him to ground. Watch the video below at your own discretion: (the actual shooting included in the video and also profanity)
In the video, you can hear one of the officers yelling, “Drop the gun!” twice; however, it has been reported that Africa didn’t have a gun present on the scene.
The LAPD is still analyzing the audio. Los Angeles Police Deparment Cmdr. Andrew Smith has said, “It’s clear there was a struggle for the officer’s gun.”
When approached by an officer, people are suppose to abide by the law and comply accordingly. In the video, there is clearly a moment of resistance, but there are also definitely more than enough officers to subdue the victim. He was on the ground and 2 officers and a sergeant fired over 5 shots. There is a problem when multiple police officers don’t have the training to control a situation like this without killing someone.
The LAPD is already in an unpleasant light. Just days ago it was announced that there would be no charges for the police officers who shot a man to death on LIVE television (Read Article Here). It appears that the police department has a history of not knowing how to correctly handle situations.
It is time to remove trigger-happy officers from the ranks of those who put their lives on the line everyday to protect the citizens of America. It is an atrocity that this man was killed, but what truth is suppose to come to the light when the force that killed him are investigating themselves?