LAPD Shoots Skid Row Resident, Thankfully He Lives
LAPD officers shot a Skid Row resident on Tuesday afternoon. One more incident of an unprovoked shooting which, thankfully this time, did not result in death. Unfortunately this comes as no surprise to those of us who have watched the escalating violence and intimidation by officers under the Safer Cities Initiative in the past two years. As poor and homeless residents of Skid Row continue to be profiled, harassed, ticketed and arrested at unprecedented rates and the community continues to see occupation-style numbers of officers, it is not surprising that police violence is escalating.
This shooting garnered just a few paragraphs in the LA Times, who reported only the LAPD’s version. LAPD representative Paul Vernon told the Times that, “The suspect charged at the officers holding an open 6-inch folding knife. The officers ordered him to get back and he continued to charge at them. One officer fired.” Vernon went on to say that officers patrolling the downtown area use force at “half the rate of officers across the city. It’s a credit to them because this is one of the most challenging areas in the city.”
Witnesses on the scene heard Vernon make a similar statement to Channel 7 news.
It’s unbelievable, although not surprising, that LAPD representatives apparently made a conclusion about this officer’s use of deadly force within an hour of the occurrence. No witnesses were interviewed (although one was seen being taken into “protective” custody), no reports had been prepared, yet LAPD’s policing of themselves declares this officer’s actions as justified. In fact, “it’s a credit to them” that it doesn’t happen more. Sickening.
According to numerous witnesses to the shooting who spoke with LA CAN, the victim did not charge the officer with a knife. In fact, he was told to get off his bike and he complied. He had his hands in plain sight when he was shot at least twice by the officer. The officer was at least 15 – 20 feet away from the victim, so how was he at risk? Witnesses also said the shooting happened very quickly – there were no verbal warnings of any kind.
While we don’t claim to have all the information we need – we do plan on investigating this incident fully and demanding that the LAPD does a full investigation as well. We will not stand by and allow police officers to take open fire on our community. We have stood up against police violence for years and will not stop now. Even in the face of attempted suppression at any cost, we are not scared. These are our streets.
More information and witness statements to follow……