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Video shows police shooting homeless man dead

The LAPD has launched an investigation.

Updated 12.04 pm

Source: James Walton/YouTube

*THIS VIDEO CONTAINS SCENES AND LANGUAGE THAT MAY UPSET SOME*

THE LAPD HAS launched two investigations after a video emerged showing a homeless man who struggled with officers being shot dead in broad daylight.

One witness said that the man had grabbed an officer’s gun.

The officers, who were answering a robbery call in the area at about noon yesterday, got into a struggle with the man, and tried to use a stun gun on him before shooting him, LAPD spokesman Sergeant Barry Montgomery said.

He was later declared dead at a hospital.

Police did not say if the man was armed, nor did they identify him.

Witnesses told the Los Angeles Times that the man is known on the street in the area as “Africa,” and that he had been there for four or five months.

Five or six officers were involved in the struggle, and two of them broke away to handcuff a woman who had picked up one of their dropped batons as the others wrestled the man to the ground, witnesses said.

One witness, Jose Gil, 38, told the Times he saw the man swinging at police then heard one of them shout, “he’s got my gun!” before multiple shots were fired.

Tents and cardboard shelters cover the sidewalks of Skid Row, the downtown neighbourhood where an estimated 1,700 homeless people live.

Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff told the Times that the LAPD, the independent inspector general and the district attorney would all investigate the shooting “very, very carefully.”

The union that represents most LAPD officers has said that the investigations are in their “very early stages” but that “law enforcement officers have the right to defend their life or the life of another”.

In a statement issued only hours after the killing, the LAPPL added that audio heard on a video “clearly suggests that the officers felt they were in life-threatening danger”.

With reporting from Rónán Duffy and AP

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