Police Kill Man on Skid Row During Confrontation Caught on Tape

A man who nearby residents knew as “Africa” was shot and killed during a confrontation with LAPD officers on skid row this weekend. No other gun was found on the scene, and it is still unclear if he was in possession of any other weapons, though none have been identified. The officers involved were part of a special task force that regularly works on skid row, and were responding to reports of a robbery.

It’s unclear if the man was a possible suspect or if the confrontation started over a tent (which may have been violation of a city ordinance), but shortly after making contact with Africa, things became violent. A cell phone video of the incident (warning, it contains profanity and shows officers opening fire), shows a brief struggle between the man and officers before at least five shots are fired by two officers and a sergeant as the man was on the ground. A taser was used, but a police representative said it was “ineffective.”

Cmdr. Andrew Smith told reporters that the man began “fighting and physically resisting the officers.” He said, “At some point in there, a struggle over one of the officer’s weapons occurred,” and several witnesses told reporters that the man reached for an officer’s gun (though accounts have differed). At one point in the video, an officer can be heard yelling, “Drop the gun. Drop the gun.” A nearby woman, who picked up a nightstick dropped during the altercation, was handcuffed. Investigators are currently interviewing more witnesses and looking into other possible videos of the incident …

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