And Again

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism; guns; victim-blaming.]

On Sunday, Los Angeles police officers shot and killed a homeless man known as Africa on the city's infamous Skid Row:
Five officers grappled on a pavement with a man known as Africa before shooting him five times in front of horrified onlookers.

The victim, whose full name has not been made public, was pronounced dead shortly after the encounter, which unfolded just before midday in skid row, a neighbourhood of homeless people and shelters close to the financial district.

...A report of an altercation between two people near East Sixth Street and South San Pedro at 11.36am prompted officers to the scene, said Jack Richter, an LAPD spokesman.

...People at the scene and on social media expressed shock that a scuffle on a busy street in broad daylight ended with lethal force, putting police violence under renewed scrutiny in the wake of protests over fatal encounters in Ferguson, New York and other cities.

...The video, which was posted on Facebook, showed officers grappling with a man beside what appeared to be an improvised tent and other homeless possessions. He resisted with flailing limbs.

A woman passing by scooped up a nightstick dropped by an officer. Two officers handcuffed her while their colleagues continued wrestling with the man.

A man – which appeared to be one of the officers – is heard instructing "Drop the gun, drop the gun," after which five gunshots are fired. The officers stood back, some with guns drawn, and the homeless man lay motionless on the ground.

Onlookers gasped and remonstrated. "They just killed that man. They just shot that motherfuckin' man like that," said one.
LAPD spokesperson Sergeant Barry Montgomery promised an investigation: "It's going to be a long investigation and we will, you know, get to the bottom of it."

And surely we can all have a ton of confidence in that investigation, when LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck is already running defense for the officers and engaging in rank victim-blaming:
"While on the ground and struggling with the officers, the man forcibly grabbed one of the officer's holstered pistols, resulting in an officer-involved shooting," Beck said during an afternoon press conference on Monday. Beck said the slide on the gun had been "partially engaged", which he said is "indicative of a struggle over a weapon".

"I don't know that I'd have done anything differently," Beck told reporters. He added: "Had the individual not grabbed the officer's pistol, we wouldn't be having this conversation."
Sure. Also: If the police had figured out a way for all six of them to subdue a single man without pulling their weapons, we wouldn't be having this conversation, either.

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