The Los Angeles Police Department is under fire for fatally shooting a homeless man yesterday afternoon, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Police officers were called to “Skid Row,” an area with a large population of homeless people, around noon after receiving reports of a physical altercation between two people. Five police officers arrived at the scene and tasered the victim, who has only been identified as Africa, before fatally shooting him at least five times in front of a crowd of onlookers. The entire incident was caught on cell phone video.
Officers claim that the man was violently resisting arrest and trying to reach for their weapons. However, some witnesses say that Africa was lying facedown on the ground when officers approached him with their guns drawn. They say he then stood up and began fighting, which is when police officers immediately began shooting.
A crowd made up of activists and “Skid Row” residents gathered last night to protest the shooting.
“I’m not anti-police,” attendee Yannick Babou told the Times. “I think we need police in society. But I think we need to hold police accountable when they do something wrong.”
LAPD spokesman Sergeant Barry Montgomery told a Los Angeles television station that the case was under investigation.