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LAPD Officers Cleared In Shooting Death Of Charley Keunang On Skid Row

Police shot and killed a homeless man on Skid Row earlier this year (Video by Anthony Blackburn posted to Facebook)
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The Los Angeles Police Commission today found that all LAPD officers involved in the shooting death of Charley Keunang, a homeless, black man killed by officers on Skid Row, were within policy when they used deadly force. Charley "Africa" Keunang, 39, was shot and killed by LAPD officers on Skid Row on March 1, 2015. The shooting was recorded by a bystander, who later posted the video online.

In a release from Police Commission, President Matthew Johnson states that they had investigated the shooting for 11 months before making today's decision. The decision was announced after a closed-door meeting that went on for several hours, City News Service reports.

The Commission unanimously found that all officers were within policy when it came to drawing their weapon and use of force, but found a rookie officer to be out of policy when it came to tactics used. The release did not specify what tactics those were.

Keunang's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the LAPD and the city of Los Angeles, calling it a "classic case of abuse of power and deadly force."

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Police say they first approached Keunang because they believed he was a robbery suspect. They said that during a scuffle with officers, Keunang reached for a rookie officer's weapon, prompting them open fire. Keunang was shot six times, and died at the scene. Footage from officers' body cameras has not been released to the public, though the Times reported that the footage shows Keunang asking to "express himself," and going back into his tent, asking to be left alone.

The Commission did fault another LAPD officer when it came to the shooting death of 35-year-old Sergio Navas, the L.A. Times reports.

Navas was killed on March 5 by officers after a pursuit that began in North Hollywood and ended in Burbank. Officers attempted to pull over a car they later learned was stolen before being led on a six-minute chase. The chase ended in a Burbank cul-de-sac, where LAPD Officer Brian Van Gorden opened fire on Navas from the passenger seat of the police vehicle, hitting Navas as he sat in the driver's seat of the stolen car. Navas got out of the car and ran, but fell down in an alleyway a short distance away. He had been shot twice. His family has also filed a suit against the city of Los Angeles.