“He’s not gonna die.”
Those were the tragically unprophetic words of the person who filmed Los Angeles cops gunning down a 50-year-old homeless man on Saturday, March 4.
The local ABC7 station reports that an altercation broke out at midday at an intersection in downtown LA, with two “gentlemen, angry and antagonizing each other down the street,” according to a nearby business owner.
The homeless man was carrying a large pipe, and someone called 911. Two LAPD cops showed up, and, according to police reports, tried to subdue the man with a Taser, although the video shows no evidence of that. Perhaps they attempted to tase him before the video started.
As the video begins, the people recording see it as a comical situation. Indeed, the homeless man appears to be physically unfit and not much of a threat to the armed officers. The two officers have weapons drawn, apparently telling him to drop the pipe.
“Ninja man with a ninja stick. He’s not gonna die,” said the person recording as a woman laughs.
The man walks a short distance away, and then turns around. He seems to view it as a game, ducking and weaving a bit as the cops stand about 15 feet away with guns pointed.
He then approaches the cops in a bumbling manner, and one cop opens fire twice, striking the man who falls to the ground. 30 seconds later, one cop approaches the man, who is unmoving on the ground, and handcuffs him.
The cops made no effort to aid the man as he lay unmoving on the ground after being struck. He was transported to a hospital, where he died.
While the man did indeed approach cops with what could be considered a “weapon,” it’s hard to believe the cops couldn’t tackle him or keep their distance until other officers arrived. As we have seen time and time again, American cops are all too eager to resort to deadly force.
ABC7 reports that LAPD Central Division officers are equipped with bodycams, but they were not turned on at the time. Detectives will review the bystander footage and dashcam video, but it is likely the cops will be cleared of any wrongdoing.
LADP cops have a history of killing homeless or mentally ill people and not facing any consequences. In Dec. 2016, it was announced that three cops who killed an unarmed homeless man on Skid Row, sparking protests, will face no charges.
In Dec. 2015, cops shot and killed a mentally ill man in his hospital room. Just one day before, LAPD cops shot a man in the back at point blank range, killing him. In Aug. 2016, video emerged of LAPD officers laughing and smiling as a man in custody died in front of them at the Los Angeles Police Department.