A man in a residential area in Los Angeles flagged down a police cruiser on Friday afternoon, apparently seeking some sort of help from the police. But within moments of the cops pulling over, they shot the man in the head. And that wasn’t all.
As captured on a cell phone video and posted to Twitter by an eyewitness, while the man lay on the ground bleeding badly from the head wound, the two officers rolled him over and placed him in handcuffs, even though he appears motionless and critically wounded.
The victim, whose name has still not been publicly released, was then taken to a hospital where, as of Saturday afternoon, he had apparently survived but was listed in critical condition.
The incident took place along Los Feliz Boulevard in the generally quiet neighborhood of Los Feliz, an upscale district directly east of Hollywood that is home to numerous movie and TV actors and other entertainment industry figures.
According to an account from the L.A. Police, the man, who appeared to be in his 30s, flagged down the officers at about 6:35 p.m. and asked for help while he had a white towel wrapped around one arm.
The officers, whose names have also not yet been released, believed that the man was concealing a gun underneath the towel. When the man “extended his arm,” according to the police account, they yelled, “Drop the gun! Drop the gun!”
Then the L.A. officers opened fire. At least one round appears to have struck the man in the head.
The L.A.P.D. later said that no gun was recovered from the scene, and the man was unarmed when the officers shot him in the head. Both officers, as well as the victim, were white.
“I didn’t see a weapon, he didn’t seem to hurting anyone,” said one eyewitness, who gave his name to local media only as Manny. “But I don’t know, I only heard the shots and saw he was shot in the head.”
Another eyewitness took a video and posted it to Twitter.
UPDATE 6/21/15: The video appears to have been removed from Twitter, but was also posted to YouTube by the group Photography Is Not A Crime. The YouTube video may be viewed above.
“We always do that,” L.A.P.D. spokesperson Andrew Smith told the Los Angeles Times newspaper. “That’s the policy… to handcuff someone in a situation like that.”
Smith said that because the man had not yet been searched by police, he was still considered a criminal suspect, though what he was suspected of the police spokesperson did not say.
The shooting comes several months after Los Angeles police officers shot and killed an unarmed, “mentally challenged” black man, Ezell Ford, as he lay on the ground. That shooting was ruled to be justified by the city’s Police Commission.
[Image: GordonBombay Twitter]