LA chief de­fends new shoot­ings by of­fi­cers

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Po­lice of­fi­cers who shot and killed men in two sep­a­rate week­end shoot­ings were jus­ti­fied in their use of deadly force be­cause they feared for their lives, the Los An­ge­les po­lice chief said. Car­nell Snell, 18, turned to­ward of­fi­cers with a gun be­fore he was shot, and the other, a His­panic man who still hasn’t been iden­ti­fied, pointed a replica that looked like a real gun at po­lice, LAPD Chief Char­lie Beck said Mon­day.

The shoot­ings come amid height­ened ten­sions over po­lice ac­tions in­volv­ing black peo­ple and other mi­nori­ties across the coun­try. A protest was ex­pected yes­ter­day at a meet­ing of the Los An­ge­les Po­lice Com­mis­sion, the depart­ment’s board of civil­ian over­seers who now rou­tinely face rau­cous demon­stra­tors. In Snell’s shoot­ing, of­fi­cers tried to pull over a car he was in Satur­day be­cause it had pa­per plates that didn’t match the year of the ve­hi­cle - a pos­si­ble in­di­ca­tion of a stolen car and some­thing com­monly seen in drive-by shoot­ings, Beck said. Snell, seated in the back, looked at of­fi­cers and then ducked down “as if to hide from them,” Beck said.

When of­fi­cers tried to pull the car over, Snell jumped out hold­ing his waist­band and the foot pur­suit be­gan, he said. Af­ter a chase of sev­eral hun­dred yards, Beck said, Snell took a gun from his waist­band and turned in the di­rec­tion of the pur­su­ing of­fi­cers, prompt­ing the shoot­ing. Snell died at the scene and po­lice re­cov­ered a fully loaded semi-au­to­matic gun with one round in the cham­ber within 5 feet of where Snell lay, Beck said, adding that the weapon had not been fired. Beck did not say whether one or more of­fi­cers fired, how close they were to Snell, or whether the car turned out to be stolen.

‘No jus­tice, no peace’

The of­fi­cers were not wear­ing body cam­eras, but a sur­veil­lance video from a busi­ness clearly showed Snell was armed, Beck said. The shoot­ing oc­curred in a neigh­bor­hood where nearly 450 peo­ple have been shot this year, mak­ing it the worst in the city for gun vi­o­lence, Beck said. “We are do­ing our ab­so­lute best to take guns out of the hands of those that would use them against oth­ers, and some­times that leads to cir­cum­stances where Los An­ge­les po­lice of­fi­cers are put into peril and have to defend them­selves,” the chief said.

A group of peo­ple protested out­side Beck’s news con­fer­ence, chant­ing, “No jus­tice, no peace, no racist po­lice.” Three were ar­rested for un­law­ful as­sem­bly af­ter re­fus­ing or­ders to leave po­lice head­quar­ters and take their demon­stra­tion to a pub­lic street. The pro­test­ers re­jected the po­lice depart­ment’s de­scrip­tion of the shoot­ing and called on them to re­lease the video if they have noth­ing to hide, some­thing Beck said was be­ing con­sid­ered but could only hap­pen when all the ev­i­dence has been col­lected and an­a­lyzed. “We’re so tired,” said pro­tester Jade Daniels, 24. “Th­ese kids don’t want to die. What black per­son would point a gun at a group of cops?”

More pro­test­ers marched in South Los An­ge­les streets Mon­day night. In the other shoot­ing Beck ad­dressed, a man was shot when he pointed what turned out to be a replica hand­gun at po­lice in an­other high­crime area on Sun­day. The man re­mained uniden­ti­fied. He was only de­scribed as His­panic. The of­fi­cers were re­spond­ing to re­ports of a man with a gun. Snell was the third black man in five days to die in con­fronta­tions with po­lice in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

Last yes­ter­day, Al­fred Olango was fa­tally shot by an of­fi­cer in the San Diego sub­urb of El Ca­jon when Olango took a “shoot­ing stance” and pointed at an of­fi­cer with what turned out to be a 4-inch vape pen - an elec­tronic cig­a­rette de­vice. On Fri­day, Regi­nald Thomas died af­ter be­ing shot with a Taser by po­lice in Pasadena. He was armed with a knife and his wife de­scribed him as men­tally ill. Mean­while, the fam­ily of a black man killed by po­lice in Sacra­mento in July de­manded mur­der charges Mon­day against two of­fi­cers heard on a dash-cam video talk­ing about try­ing to hit the man with their po­lice cruiser be­fore he was shot 14 times. —AP

LOS AN­GE­LES: Pro­test­ers de­mand the fir­ing of Los An­ge­les Po­lice Chief Char­lie Beck over a po­lice-in­volved shoot­ing of a black man over the week­end dur­ing a news con­fer­ence at LAPD head­quar­ters. —AP

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