A video recording of LAPD officers struggling with and fatally shooting an apparent berserk black man at a skid row homeless encampment appears to vindicate the officers for killing the man who friends called Africa.
According to the Los Angeles Times, an enhanced and slowed down online video of the tussle, uploaded to the internet by a witness, appears to show Africa trying to grab one of the officer’s guns. The Times further reports security camera video from a nearby building makes less clear whether the disturbed man went for the officer’s gun.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck explained in a news conference that the officers first used tasers to subdue Africa but, they “appeared to have little effect” as the man “continued to violently resist” the officers. Beck added that the skid row dweller, “repeatedly refused to comply with officers’ commands and then began to fight with them.”
A subsequent inspection of the officer’s gun indicated that during the violent rumble the gun’s slide had been partially pulled back and its magazine was dislodged from its resting place. Beck said those factors suggest that a “struggle over the weapon” occurred.
Moreover, Beck revealed that two of the police officers recorded the incident with their body cameras. The recordings should leave no doubt as to what happened in the fatal struggle that took place on March 1.
The Times reported that two officers were injured in the fight, were treated and released. The police chief said one of the officers was still recovering at his home. The names of the officers have not been revealed.
Not everyone agrees with Beck’s assessment as one man is heard on the video shouting “Murderers!” at the cruiser. A man named JuJu told the Times that Africa was a peaceful man and once helped him with food and blankets after thieves robbed him. “He was generous,” Juju said. “He lived in a tent, but he was content.”