Community Members Outraged as LAPD Commission Finds Officers Shooting and Killing of Charly “Africa” Keunang “in Policy”

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Press Release | For Immediate Release
February 2, 2016
Pete White, LA CAN 213-434-1594 | Hamid Khan, STOP LAPD Spying at 562-230-4578

Community Members Outraged as LAPD Commission Finds Officers Shooting and Killing of Charly “Africa” Keunang “in Policy”

Community members from Black Lives Matter-LA, Los Angeles Community Action Network and Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and across LA are gathered at LAPD Headquarters vocalizing their outrage at the LAPD Police Commission finding that officers who shot and killed Charly “Africa” Keunang last March acted “in policy.” Keunang, a homeless man with a history of mental illness, was shot and killed by LAPD officers on March 1 in the Downtown LA neighborhood of Skid Row. The incident drew international attention after cell phone videos of the killing were viewed by millions.

Residents were surprised at today’s report back after various groups attempted for months to get information and updates on the investigation of the fatal shooting. The “closed session” hearing was actually kept under wraps until community members directly questioned Commission President Johnson about its presence on today’s agenda. He confirmed that it was in fact one of the topics being discussed.

“Africa’s” death occurred as communities in LA and across the country continue to grapple with the shootings of unarmed Black men. The attempts to paint him as a career criminal in pursuit of justifying his killing fell on deaf ears largely as the video spoke for itself. Additionally, in Skid Row (a 50 square block area) use-of-force and shootings of unarmed people far outpace any other area of Los Angeles. Keunang’s killing was also just one of a string of incidents last year involving LAPD fatally shooting homeless residents.

In August, the family of Keunang, represented by Hadsell, Stormer & Renick, filed a lawsuit against the City of LA for the wrongful death of the man known in Skid Row as “Africa.” However, residents and groups at the commission today have vowed to continue fighting for Justice for Keunang, which they connect to the broad trend of state sanctioned fatal violence used against primarily low-income, Black and Brown communities.
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