A Los Angeles police officer has shot and killed a man armed only with a pipe. The killing took place on a busy downtown street corner on March 4. The entire ordeal was captured by a cell phone user who published the video on Twitter.
At about 12:30 p.m. officers were dispatched to a Carl's Jr. fast-food restaurant near the intersection of West Olympic Boulevard and South Broadway. But according to the video, the man was confronted by police officers in front of the New Mikado restaurant.
At first, witnesses told reporters that a man wearing white approached another man and an altercation followed. Upon the officers' arrival, they saw a male Hispanic man holding a 4-to-5-foot metal pipe. According to Bryce Marshall, a witness who works across the street, the man did not respond to the officers' commands and failed to put down the pipe.
As the man took a few steps forward, things got messy. Marshall told reporters that the man was shot within moments.
“Basically, the cops told the man to put down the pipe and he wasn't really following the commands. He basically took a few steps forward. I'm not sure if it was directly at the cop or the gentleman that he had the altercation with, but then, right then, the officer fired two shots."
Marshall says that as the officer pulled the trigger, others were shocked at what they saw. He told reporters that he believes the police's actions were “unjust.”
The victim was a homeless man who was familiar to locals, Marshall stated.
Speaking of the incident, LAPD Detective Meghan Aguilar said that they “know there was a Taser used by one of the officers. Unfortunately, though, the encounter did end with an officer-involved shooting."
The Hispanic man was transported to the hospital where he later died. The names of officers involved were not immediately released.
This tragic incident is only one out of many involving police officers who shoot at suspects even if they are not armed. In many cases, cops who refrain from shooting in similar situations are penalized and are often fired. We'll continue to hear similar stories for as long as law enforcement continues to punish those who are doing the right thing while protecting others who abuse their power.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Jonathan Bachman