The Huntington Park, California, police department has come under fire after a video emerged of officers shooting dead a disabled suspect.
The Huntington Park, California, police department said they handled an unprovoked stabbing incident, with the suspect described as a bipedal black man in a wheelchair, on the afternoon of January 26. When discovered, the suspect was holding a 30cm long knife, was uncooperative and “threatened to throw the knife”.
Police used stun guns to control the suspect but twice failed. “The suspect continued to threaten, prompting officers to open fire,” the Huntington Park Police Department said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating an incident involving Huntington Park police, said the suspect was shot and pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities did not identify the suspect. The family said it was Anthony Lowe, 36.
Video taken by those at the scene shows Lowe holding a shiny object but not rushing towards officers. There was no clear view of what followed, but officers fired about 10 rounds and Lowe was killed.
Lowe’s family told Los Angeles Times that he is having mental problems. Dorothy Lowe, Lowe’s mother, wants US authorities to deal with the officers involved, demanding justice for her son.
“They murdered my son, a amputee in a wheelchair,” she said. The family did not mention that Lowe may have attacked someone.
The incident happened in the context of US police being criticized for using excessive violence, after the death of black youth Tire Nichols, 29 years old.
The Memphis, Tennessee, police department last week released video of a January 7 encounter between Nichols and officers, showing the young man being restrained by force and electrocuted. When Nichols fled, the police team gave chase, repeatedly punching and beating him with batons for 5 minutes.
Nichols was rushed to hospital but died three days later from his injuries. Many protests broke out across the United States to demand justice for Nichols.
Nichols’ funeral took place February 1 at a church in Memphis. US Vice President Kamala Harris offered condolences to the family. “This is a family that has lost their son to the violent actions of those whose job it is to keep the community safe,” Ms Harris said.
Like Tam (Theo AFP, CNN, Guardian)