Protesters gathered Tuesday morning at the site where officers shot and killed a homeless man on Skid Row, then marched to the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters for a police commission meeting attended by Chief Charlie Beck.
A rally involving LA Community Action Network and Skid Row community members began at about 8 a.m. near Sixth and San Pedro streets, where flowers, notes and other items were left at a memorial for the slain man, known to others on Skid Row as "Africa." Protesters carried signs that read, "Stop Modern Day Lynchings," "End the Police State" and "End the Safer Cities Initiative," a community policing program.
Another sign read, "Body Cameras Won't Stop Police Murders," referring to the body cameras worn by two officers involved in Sunday's fatal confrontation.
The crowd of more than 150 people gathered on the plaza in front of police headquarters before similar sentiments were expressed during nearly two hours of public comments at a regularly scheduled police commission meeting. Speakers included community activists, a flag-draped man in a Batman mask and people living on Skid Row.
One speaker repeatedly blew a whistle and demanded the commission, "Wake up! Wake up!"
At a news conference after the commission meeting, Beck acknowledged the anger among those who spoke at Tuesday's commission meeting.
"The group today was pretty irate," Beck said.
The protests are part of the backlash after Sunday's fatal shooting of a man who had been staying in a tent in the downtown Los Angeles neighborhood. The man, who was the subject of a 911 call robbery report, tried to reach for an officer's holstered weapon during a struggle that began after he refused to comply with police commands, Chief Beck said.
"Don't take an officer's gun," one speaker said at the commission meeting. "If a person attempts to take a police officer's gun, it will not end up well. My condolences go out to the family of Africa, but let this investigation take its course."
Beck said Tuesday morning that investigators are still looking to speak with more witnesses. He refused to confirm the identity of the man who was killed and said that information would come from the coroner's office.
At a Monday news conference, Beck cited several screengrabs obtained from witness videos that he said show the man attempting to "forcibly grab" one of the officer's guns. He also said an officer in the video said "He has my gun" several times before three other officers opened fire in what the chief described as an "extreme tragedy."
Two Los Angeles Police Department officers involved in Sunday's altercation that led to the fatal shooting were wearing body cameras, providing police with another video for review in the department investigation, Beck said Monday. Investigators also plan to review video from the camera system at the Mission, where officers responding to the robbery report encountered the man in 500 block of South San Pedro Street.
The man can be seen on a bystander's video recording swinging his arms as officers approach. The man repeatedly refused to comply with officers' commands and a stun gun had "little effect," Beck said.
"While on the ground, the suspect and officers struggled over one of the officer's handguns and then an officer-involved shooting occurred," the LAPD said in a statement.
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At least five rounds were fired, police said.
The subject died at the scene. Two officers suffered minor injuries.
Some people who live in the area said they believe police are at least partially responsible for what transpired.
"You can't tell me five officers can't take down one man. What about police training?" One homeless man told NBC4 Monday. "I think they treated him like they normally treat homeless people on Skid Row, with disrespect, with harassment."
Chief Beck said Monday the officer's involved in the Skid Row shooting are well trained.