Graphic video shows L.A. police shoot man in head and handcuff him

crime | Jun 20, 2015 | By Martin Barillas

A man was shot and critically wound by police who opened fire on him on June 19 in Los Angeles. The man had flagged down police officers from the side of the road. One hand was wrapped in a towel,  police said. The man had called out “Police, police,” before the officers stopped. The incident occurred near the intersection of Los Feliz Boulevard and Tica Drive, south of Griffith Park in L.A. According to Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Lt. John Jenal, "This person extended an arm wrapped in a towel. The officer exited the vehicle and said, 'Drop the gun, drop the gun.'" At least one officer shot the citizen in question, who was unarmed. He was taken to an area hospital where he was placed in critical care. 
 
A passing motorist recorded a video that showed that police officers on the scene handcuffed the man despite his life-threatening bloody wounds. Even so, police commander  Andrew Smith claimed in the aftermath that the officers followed standard procedure since the injured man had not been searched and was still considered a suspect. "We always do that," Smith said. "That's the policy ... to handcuff someone in a situation like that." The key question, said Smith, is why the man in question sought out the police in the first place. The man was standing on the side of the road, Smith said, when he called out to the officers: "Police, police." The officers involved belong to LAPD's Security Services division, which provides security at city facilities.
 
Investigators will explore various possiblities, said Smith. These will include whether the injured man needed help. Also, police will look into the man’s record so as to determine whether he intended a “suicide by cop.” So far, the victim’s name has not been released. Smith promised that no stone will be left unturned by detectives. As of the evening of June 19, no further information was available about the man. 
 
On June 19, there were two shootings by police involving a citizen partially concealed by a blanket or towel. Before the Los Feliz shooting, police shot a man in El Monte after he exited a car while covered in a blanket. Police say he had a weapon. They shot him and left him critically wounded. He had led them on a two-hour chase after allegedly assaulting a woman. Commander Smith said that his department will find out whether the officers in Los Feliz had been made aware of the El Monte incident. 
Smith said investigators would also examine whether the officers involved in the Los Feliz shooting were aware of the other incident earlier in the day.
 
The City of Angels has been hit with several other police shooting incidents. The Los Angeles Police Commission, for example concluded  last week that one of two police officers who fatally shot a mentally ill black man, Ezel Ford, in 2014 was not justified in using deadly force. In that case, the officer and Ford struggled over the officer’s weapon. However, the police commission concluded that the officer had any reason to stop or detain Ford. In another case, the police department is looking into the shooting of an unarmed and homeless black man in May 2015. Soon after that incident, L.A. police Chief Charlie Beck averred that he is concerned about the incident, saying “Any time an unarmed person is shot by a Los Angeles police officer, it takes extraordinary circumstances to justify that.” In the Los Feliz shooting, the officers and victim were identified as white.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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