An extremely graphic video of Los Angeles Police Department officers shooting a homeless man during a violent confrontation caught the Internet on fire when it was uploaded on Sunday night.
The incident, posted by Facebook user Anthony Blackburn, happened on Sunday morning, after officers were called to investigate a robbery in Los Angeles's Skid Row neighborhood, KTLA of Los Angeles reported.
The disturbing video can be seen here.
Police released an account of the shooting, but have not disclosed the identity of the shooting victim. From the Los Angeles Times:
[Cmdr. Andrew] Smith said the officers approached the man and made contact with him, at which point he "began fighting and physically resisting the officers." The officers attempted to take him into custody and at one point, attempted to use a Taser that Smith said was "ineffective."
The man continued to resist police, Smith said, and the man and some of the officers fell to the ground.
"At some point in there, a struggle over one of the officer's weapons occurred," Smith said. "At that point an officer-involved shooting happened."
Two officers and a sergeant fired at the man, who was pronounced dead at the scene, Smith said. It was unclear how many times the officers fired, although at least five shots can be heard on the video recording that captured the shooting.
Some witnesses reported that the man—known as "Africa" on the street—was reaching for an officer's gun before he was shot. Around 25 seconds into the video, an officer seems to be saying something about a gun, though the audio is not clear.
"To me, [him reaching for the gun] would be the only explanation that something would happen that quickly," Police Commission President Steve Soboroff told the Los Angeles Times after watching video of the incident. "It escalated. It escalated right in front of our eyes."
"My heart just started pounding just watching it," Soboroff added. "I feel the adrenaline. These situations are just so horrific."
Soboroff said his department will be investigating the shooting "very very carefully," and that nobody should rush to judgment.
Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.