UPDATE at 11:12 p.m. Sunday, March 1: See multiple updates, including a statement from the Los Angeles Police Department, at the bottom.
The fatal shooting of a homeless man by cops on the streets of downtown Los Angeles today became an instant lightning rod for critics of the Los Angeles Police Department tonight.
The confrontation was captured on video that has been viewed more than 3 million times. The graphic and disturbing footage, below, was recorded on the mobile phone of a witness named Anthony Blackburn, who posted it to his Facebook page.
LAPD Commander Andrew Smith told L.A. Weekly the suspect and cops “struggled over one of the officers’ handguns,” precipitating the shooting. Audio from the clip appears to demonstrate that at least one officer shouted, “gun,” and then, “Drop the gun, drop the gun, drop the gun” before shots rang out.
The confrontation happened on San Pedro Street near Fifth Street about noon today, police said. Officers were responding to “a citizen call of a robbery,” Smith said:
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