LAPD Skid Row Shooting Captured By Body Cameras
It sounds like there were many videos of LAPD officers fatally shooting a homeless man on Skid Row Sunday morning, including at least one LAPD body camera video.
LAPD told the Los Angeles Times that there is at least one body camera video taken at the scene of yesterday's shooting. That's in addition to the Facebook video posted by Anthony Blackburn on Facebook that racked up 6 million hits before it was taken down. Here's a copy:
The L.A. Times says there's a second video of the incident, and police say that they may be able to track down surveillance video that offers up different angles of the fatal shooting.
The body camera video and others could give a better sense of what happened in the moments before a struggle ensued between a man identified by Skid Row residents as Africa and six LAPD officers—and perhaps also a clearer image of what happened immediately before the shooting. One of the officers in the video yells "Drop the gun! Drop the gun!" but visually it's hard to make out what exactly happens in the video.
Even if there is clearer video from the body cameras, the public might never get a chance to view it. LAPD body cameras were only recently rolled out. The LAPD isn't hot on the idea of releasing the videos despite demand from the public and civil liberties groups, The Times reports:
Chief Charlie Beck said the department doesn't intend, in general, to release the recordings unless required by a criminal or civil court proceeding. The LAPD considers the recordings evidence, he said, investigative records exempt from public release under California's public records law. But at community forums, some residents said they thought videos should be released as a form of transparency. The Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has indicated support for the cameras but is demanding strong policies to protect civilian privacy. The organization wrote to the Police Commission, recommending it make public videos of high-profile incidents, such as police shootings, "if not while an investigation is pending, then as soon as it is concluded."