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Long Beach Police Shoot & Kill: 2 Sides of the Story

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Billy Moses, right, comforts his mother Kathryn Holub at a sidewalk memorial Tuesday, May 20, 2008, in Long Beach, Calif., where police shot and killed Roketi Mosesue, 46, an unarmed mentally ill man. Holub is Mosesue's girlfriend. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Saturday night's officer involved shooting that led to the death of Roketi Mosesue, 46, has led to much controversy. Both sides tell their story. First, the Long Beach Police via the Mercury News:

[Deputy Chief William] Blair said dispatchers received several 911 calls around 7 p.m. Saturday. Callers said a "really buff" Samoan man wearing jeans and no shirt was wandering the neighborhood acting erratically and threatening bystanders. One caller said Mosesue repeatedly stated he was the devil and threatened to kill himself. Blair said that when a patrol car arrived, Mosesue charged the officers. Before the shooting, one officer defended himself with his baton while his partner fired a Taser, which had no effect on Mosesue, he said.


That account "differs dramatically from the story told by witnesses and family members, who said an officer shot an unarmed Roketi Mosesue three to six times as he lay on his stomach on a sidewalk on a street where neighbors were holding a birthday party," says the paper.
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In the Long Beach Press-Telegram, reactions are gathered by witnesses and family. "You have bean bag guns, you've got plastic bullets, you've got mace, you have batons. Why do we have to kill?" one man told a KCAL9 reporter.

Another questions the tactics used: "If you're going to shoot someone six times, wouldn't one bullet in the back be enough?"

His girlfriend, Kathryn Noleb, also expressed grief to reporters: "What happened was an assassination... It wasn't help. It wasn't help for him. It wasn't help for the community. It's not help."

According to family members, they say that Mosesue was not armed, had a bipolar disorder, was dying of lung cancer and was upset that night because he got into a fight with Noleb.

Earlier on LAist:
-- Long Beach Police Kill 'Erratic' Man, Provoke Angry Crowd