By Corey Arvin
The fatal shooting of a robbery suspect in Los Angeles’ infamous “Skid Row” has stoked anger and raised questions in the rundown community, as protestors took to Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) headquarters shouting “Black Lives Matter” on Tuesday. Many are asking about the actions of the officer involved, leading up to the death of the suspect.
The unidentified man known on the streets as “Africa”, who was reportedly homeless, was shot March 1 around Noon by a LAPD officer during an altercation, in which the man allegedly tried to grab the officer’s handgun after resisting arrest. A witness recorded the incident on video and uploaded the footage to YouTube.
Skid Row is a small section of downtown Los Angeles that encompasses several blocks, running down San Pedro Street. The area is known for its highly-visible homeless population with makeshift tents the sporadically line up along the streets.
Many people within the Skid Row community expressed anger over the incident, questioning whether the officer’s use of force was justified.
Sebastian Meyers, a transient who frequents the Skid Row area, said he didn’t witness the officer-involved shooting, but the topic had dominated the streets since it took place. Meyers said most of what of the homeless there were not surprised by the shooting, but feel skeptical the officer’s use of force was justified.
“When I see the police, I just mind my own business,” he said.
In a press release dated March 1, LAPD said, “As in all officer-involved shootings, LAPD’s specialized Force Investigative Division (FID) personnel responded to preserve and collect evidence and interview witnesses to the incident. Portions of the incident captured on video from various sources will be reviewed and analyzed as part of the ongoing use of force investigation.”
According to the press release, the incident is also currently under investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division.