March 2, 2015

Note: This unedited video is definitely NSFW.

This unedited video is one of the most intense things I've ever seen, and all I can think is, we should be able to come up with a better system of dealing with the mentally ill than to have cops put them down like rabid dogs. Assuming the cops are telling the truth and the man grabbed the cop's gun, how could that have been avoided? What if there was a specific protocol for approaching the mentally ill? Hell, what if they had safe places to live, instead of a tent on the street?

Seems like using a gun is just a way to guarantee that things escalate. Via the L.A. Times:

Investigators were looking for additional videotapes that could shed light on Sunday's fatal shooting of a man on skid row by Los Angeles police officers.

The shooting was captured on a video shot by a bystander, who posted it on Facebook. It had been viewed more than 2 million times in the first seven hours after it was posted.

But LAPD Sgt. Barry Montgomery said there could be more video recordings of the incident, noting that he could see two surveillance cameras mounted on buildings at the scene.

The encounter was recorded by body cameras worn by at least one of the officers. It was unclear what that recording shows.

"It's clear there was a struggle for the officer's gun," Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Andrew Smith said. No other gun was found at the scene.

Five shots can be heard on the video. Two officers and a sergeant fired their weapons, Smith said.

The video also shows two officers in the foreground grappling with and handcuffing a woman who had picked up a dropped police nightstick.

An angry crowd gathered immediately after the gunfire, as police cordoned off the scene and ordered onlookers to back away.

One witness can be heard complaining that there had been at least six officers to handle the situation, and that the mortally wounded man had been unarmed.

"Ain't nobody got no … gun!" he shouts.

"That man never was a threat," said Lonnie Franklin, 53, who said he was across the street when the shooting occurred. "The amount of officers present at the time could have subdued him."

Witnesses identified the dead man by his street name, "Africa," and said he'd been living in a tent on skid row for a few months after spending a long stretch in a mental health facility.

The LAPD has struggled for years to effectively police downtown's expansive skid row, which is a frequent destination for people with severe mental illnesses.

"We have to deal with the aftermath of a system that's failed," Officer Deon Joseph, a 16-year skid row beat cop, said Sunday.

Police Commission President Steve Soboroff said Sunday evening that he was watching the video repeatedly trying to hear exactly what the officers said to the man.

"My heart just started pounding just watching it," Soboroff said. "I feel the adrenaline. These situations are just so horrific."

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