Video: LAPD Officers Shoot and Kill Homeless Man

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Below is a videotape that is likely to be at the center of a growing controversy over the shooting of a homeless man by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). The officers say that they first tried to use a taser, which proved ineffective, and that the man then struggled with an officer over his service weapon. Various officers reportedly fired at the man who was declared dead at the scene. The man has only been identified by his street name, “Africa.”

The officers were from LAPD’s Central Division and Safer Cities Initiative and were responding to a call concerning a possible robbery. The videotape also shows a woman grabbing a police baton and being disarmed.

There are five shots that can be heard on the videotape below. Two officers and a sergeant reportedly fired at the man. One can also hear officers scream “drop the gun.” The question is how much can be seen of the critical moment when the man allegedly grabbed for the service weapon.

Notably, one account says that an officer had a body camera. That may help clear up the differing accounts.

Source: LA Times

109 thoughts on “Video: LAPD Officers Shoot and Kill Homeless Man”

  1. We had patients at the County psychiatric hospital I worked at who during warm months would be out on the streets. When the weather turned cold, they were pounding on the doors trying to get back in for the winter. Lobotomies and ETC were no longer in use when I worked there. However they were given massive doses of psychotropics and were often snowed, but that still seems safer than being victims to thugs, sadists, thieves or cops.

  2. We either provide medical-psychiatric custodial care at taxpayer expense, or we provide prison-and-welfare care at taxpayer expense.
    We pay for these folks either way.

    1. Pogo wrote: “We either provide medical-psychiatric custodial care at taxpayer expense, or we provide prison-and-welfare care at taxpayer expense.”

      There are other options. Right now they enter psychiatric facilities and are basically drugged up. The drugs don’t fix them. They just kind of put them in a daze and make them unresponsive to stimuli.

      When the psychiatric facility takes a person, it removes that person from society for real. Others can no longer help that person. I have many times been allowed to visit people in the psychiatric facility, but sometimes not. The person rarely ever gets help. The facility just collects tax money to give the person pills. That’s it. I wait for them to get out to actually help them, after the drugs wear off. I know you are a medical doctor pogo, but I just don’t see much help to the mentally ill from the medical profession. But then I don’t seek out any help from the medical profession for myself either, so maybe I am biased a bit in that direction. Most people are biased the other way and give the benefit of the doubt to medical science that they have all the answers.

  3. “You think the streets are more cruel than making them little more than experimental lab rats at taxpayer expense? More cruel than the lobotomies and electric shock therapies?

    Yes, crazy as it seems.
    But lobotomies vs the street is a false choice.
    ECT (electric shock) is mainly for severe refractory depression, which is rarely a cause for homeless.
    Instead, most mentally ill homeless are schizophrenics. There brain is literally dying, probably from an infection. They are unable to become normal again. They need 24-hour care.
    Where this occurs is debatable.

    My point was that the street ended up being more cruel that even the cruelest institutional care, for many of these patients.
    Indeed, many end up institutionalized anyway, but in prison, or dead, like this guy.
    That seems a far worse institutionalization than an asylum.
    Cops aren’t good at psychiatric care.

    1. I knew a psychiatrist at the Institute for Living, Dr Ross Thomas who I met through the anti-Vietnam war movement. He was unjustly institutionalized by his fellow doctors there and put in the state hospital in Middletown. What happened was that he found out his wife of many years was having an affair with one of his colleagues. He got rather upset about this, confronted him, and punched him on the jaw. The other doctors considered this to be mental illness, and locked him up. He finally got in touch with the ACLU and got him out.

      There was far too much power given to the doctors with their power to lock up those who they considered deviant. I did not think his reaction was deviant at all. In fact, in Texas when I first came here, you could legally shoot the cheaters if you found them in bed together. I think that was a bit extreme, but I could understand the reasoning of outrage and passion constituting temporary insanity.

      Unfortunately, he was murdered later by a burglar who broke into his apartment at night.

  4. Jimmy Carter is in large part responsible for mentally ill not being institutionalized. Now, I say this w/o sarcasm. His intentions were good. But, like virtually all of his initiatives, the deinstitutionalization of mentally ill people who simply cannot function on the street turned out to be quite cruel.

    Hopefully Putin doesn’t try and make an issue out a man from Mother Russia being killed by American cops.

    1. Nick Spinelli wrote: “… the deinstitutionalization of mentally ill people who simply cannot function on the street turned out to be quite cruel.”

      You think the streets are more cruel than making them little more than experimental lab rats at taxpayer expense? More cruel than the lobotomies and electric shock therapies? I am not a big fan of institutions for anyone.

      I did a survey once among the homeless I work with and found about 30% of them were diagnosed with some form of mental illness. About 30% were addicted to drugs. Some 35% had various reasons. Often men would become homeless from a failed marriage. About 5% were homeless because they wanted to be. They like the freedom. They are freebirds who do not believe in the rules and regulations of society. They believe that those of us working everyday, paying a mortgage and numerous other bills, are slaves to a senseless system.

      When we talk about the mentally ill on the street, most are functional at some level. They just need a friend or relative to care enough to help them. They cannot survive alone, but they can with some assistance. I am convinced that if every single person adopted a personal principle of having a guest room in their home for the stranger, there would be no homeless. People think that is too expensive or difficult, but it is easily done. I raised five children and made them share rooms in order to have a guest room available at all times. Today I have not only a guest room at my home, but an apartment at my office building for those who need help. If everyone did this, there would be no reason for someone like this man having to sleep on a sidewalk. This man would still be alive if people in society cared about one another.

  5. Davidm, I put headphones on this time and can hear taser ticking. As Darren stated, maybe not a good connection, thus causing arcing and ticking.

  6. I have to agree with Pogo, it’s safer for them to be in an institution than out on the streets.

  7. Good discussion but as Nick Spinelli said in his first comment, ” Rule #1: NEVER EVER reach for a cop’s gun.” That is a sure fire way to get killed! Whatever reason the man was on the streets, vagrant, bum, immigrant, mental, etc., ……,that should be the one particular rule to learn.

  8. If the cop did not have a gun, there would have been no motive for the man to lunge forward to grab for something that wasn’t there.

    If the cop did not have a gun, there would have been no shot fired.

  9. Jill – “Like many conservatives/and or libertarians you don’t see that the govt. is already stealing you blind. They are just giving it to the rich. No one is teaching bankers and arms dealers to fish. They are taking your money to the tune of trillions of dollars. Laws are made so they can spread their chum and fleece more people.”

    Jill, I’m quite aware of the govt stealing my property. I even understand they are raising taxes every time they print another dollar devaluing what property they allow me to keep. I would never have guessed that you would be for lower taxes. Glad to read that you are on my side. It is interesting though that you have no problem with the govt. stealing our property and giving it to the lazy.

    “Obama doesn’t care a wit about homelessness or the well being of ordinary people. We have the greatest income inequality in our nation’s history under this president. Please consider that the idea that Obama is a liberal who cares about the people is propaganda designed to confuse both liberals and conservative. Obama is giving your tax money away, true, just not to the people you think.”

    I would argue that President Obama is very concerned with the poor. He is very concerned to make more of them and getting their vote by giving them fish and passing them on to the next liberal.

    “We could be pragmatists like the people of Utah. They did a financial calculation and people have homes. We could do another financial calculation and stop funding banksters, arms dealers, war contractors and energy companies. Really, we could do this!”

    We could also stop subsidizing ethanol, college loans, wind and solar. Lets remove all subsidies and also remove all corporate taxes. Really, we could do this!

  10. “A woman who lives in an apartment nearby told the Times that the victim had lived on Skid Row for between four and five months after being released from a mental health facility.

    The insane asylums of yesteryear were more humane for the mentally ill than our current method of living on the street and occasionally arresting them when psychotic/violent.

  11. David, it wasn’t my assertion that one must be read their rights in order to be arrested. I fully understand you can be arrested without having your Miranda rights read to you. My point of contention is Paul’s assertion that one does not have the right to an attorney (which is a Miranda right) UNTIL they are CHARGED. That is false from the way I understand what I’ve read on various sites now. Again, it’s the custodial interrogation that often happens BEFORE being charged that prompts the right to the attorney. Therefore Paul’s assertion that one does not have the right to an attorney until charged seems false.

    1. Annie, if you are saying they have a right to an attorney after arrest but before being questioned, then yes, I agree with you. I thought Paul was addressing different circumstances and context.

        1. david – my contention is that if they are detained and shackled to a bench for 16 hours without questioning are they required to be given Miranda Warnings? I think not. Since there is no intent to question them.

          1. Paul Schulte wrote: “… my contention is that if they are detained and shackled to a bench for 16 hours without questioning are they required to be given Miranda Warnings? I think not.”

            You are right. They are not. You and Annie are talking past each other.

            The interesting thing is even if they question him, they do not have to read him the Miranda warning. But the problem is that they might have any evidence they gather thrown out of court if the person does not 1) understand his rights, and 2) waive his Miranda rights.

            Even if the Miranda rights are not read, the person arrested still has those rights. He has the right to be silent, to not incriminate himself, and the right to legal counsel. I think that is Annie’s point.

            Still, if the person cannot afford an attorney, it is not likely they will see any attorney until after they are charged. The right to counsel does not mean that one must be provided immediately by the police when the arrestee asks for one. A lot of defendants meet their attorney for the first time in the courtroom, sometimes just as their case is being called and they are walking before the judge. So exactly what is meant when someone says that a person arrested but not yet charged still has a right to an attorney?

  12. What a freaking disgrace in the United States. We have Homeless Shelters in My County that the Homeless themselves keep in operating order and they are proud to do so and they keep a running tally of the people they are able to find homes for. Indentured servants my a@@

  13. I played the video a couple more times. Still don’t hear taser. Counted 6 shots fired at close range. You would think 1 shot to the arm?

    1. Warren, I have listened many times, and I distinctly hear what sounds like a taser starting at :19 and continuing through :24. Maybe my sound card is better than yours? LOL. I don’t know.

  14. Is the suspect interrogated before being charged? Sometimes, right? If they don’t have enough evidence? Once in custodial interrogation, the Miranda warning must be given, no? But to get to the heart of Paul’s assertion that one has no right to an attorney until after he is charged that would seem false. If is the INTERROGATION that prompts the right to an attorney or to remain silent, it’s NOT the CHARGE that prompts the right. Maybe an attorney can clear this up.

    on 1, March 2, 2015 at 11:59 amPaul C. Schulte
    Jill – if you have not be charged with a crime you have no right to an attorney.

    1. Annie, I am not an attorney, but what I understand is that if the police want to interrogate you and collect information for a criminal trial, then they read you the Miranda warning. However, if they arrest you and do not care about questioning you, they do not have to read you the Miranda warning. There is no law that says an officer has to read you your rights in order for the police to arrest you. That is a misunderstanding people get from Hollywood movies.

      The Miranda rights were outlined by SCOTUS in the case of Miranda v. Arizona in 1966.

      The Sixth Amendment says that you have a right to assistance of counsel in your defence in all CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS. This is the phrase that Paul Schulte was trying to help you understand.

      The pre-arrest situation is different from post-arrest. Anybody can hire an attorney anytime they want, pre-arrest, post-arrest, but the providing of an attorney free to indigent people is post-arrest.

  15. In order for Miranda to be applicable the following must be present:

    Evidence must have been gathered.
    The evidence must be testimonial.
    The evidence must have been obtained while the suspect was in custody.
    The evidence must have been the product of interrogation.
    The interrogation must have been conducted by state-agents.
    The evidence must be offered by the state during a criminal prosecution.

  16. There are a couple caveats with Taser use.

    The Taser makes a pop sound when the darts are fired.

    When using the darts, and the darts penetrate the body correctly, a Taser does not emit much sound. If the darts make only partial contact a rapid ticking sound is emitted caused by at least one of the darts arcing. The arcing can also be caused by contact with metals or other conducting material. In fact, Taser targets are constructed of foil and shooting these makes the ticking sounds as well as visible sparks and such.

    Another mode of deploying a Taser is the Drive method where the dart cartridge is either removed, or has previously been fired, and it is then placed against the person’s body. If this is performed a Taser will make a ticking sound as described above. This will apply if it is sparked in hand or against the body of another.

    I was not able to hear conclusively Taser sounds in the video but I will have to defer to others on this.

  17. Dogpac commenters: please look at my comments on the FAA article down below. I am curious if this is our Barking Dog in St. Louis.

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