A man who police say was carrying a knife has died after being shot by law enforcers in Hollywood, Los Angeles. He was taken to hospital but, did not recover from his injuries. A witness who took a video of the incident says the man was unarmed.
Police say they were responding to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon on Friday night. On arrival they were met with an “armed man,” CBS Los Angeles reported. According to Detective Meghan Aguilar, the man was carrying a knife.
“When he saw the officers, he approached them and an officer involved shooting occurred,” ABC News reported Aguilar as saying.
A witness speaking to Eyewitness News that she heard officers with guns drawn yelling, "He's still got a knife."
The suspect was critically injured and taken to hospital but later died from his injuries, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman said.
Police say they found a combination knife, similar to a Swiss Army Knife, at the scene.
One woman said a man ran into a McDonald's shouting that police shot his friend, who sometimes "liked to wave a knife to scare tourists," NBC Los Angeles reports.
But Jordan White, who witnessed the incident and even shot a short video following the shooting, said on Twitter that the man was not armed. Police shot him at least ten times, White added on Facebook.
“Police just shot a man in the head 10 times for no reason right in front of me,” he said.
One local resident, Neil Barnett said, “I heard like five shots go off and then all of a sudden I saw police run across and they’re pointing a gun at this guy that’s lying on the ground."
A number of tourists staying at a nearby hostel were stunned by what they saw.
“We heard a couple of gun shots … and we ran to the window and we just saw the cops standing there aiming their guns [at] the guy,” said tourist Hanna Forspend, which was reported by KTLA.
No police officers were injured during the incident.
This latest incident comes in the wake of a number of high profile cases
involving law enforcement officers in the deaths of unarmed ethnic minority citizens.
On Wednesday, a New York City grand jury decided not to indict white NYPD officer Daniel Pantalo, after he was accused of killing a black Staten Island man, Eric Garner, by putting him in a chokehold.
Garner, a father of six, who suffered from asthma, lost consciousness and reportedly went into cardiac arrest. He was declared dead at a nearby hospital.
In response to the protest that followed the jury’s decision, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
said the city was working on improving police-community relations and called on demonstrators to vent their anger peacefully.
However, his words have not been heeded. Protesters
in New York and other cities rallied for a third night on Friday denouncing the use of deadly force by police against minorities.
The turnout was much smaller, though, partly due to the rain and the cold, though nearly 100 people, including local civic leaders, huddled under umbrellas near the site of Garner's death for a candlelight vigil on Staten Island.
The decision sparing Pantaleo from prosecution was announced nine days after a Missouri grand jury chose not to indict a white policeman for the shooting death in August of an unarmed black teenager in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The decision sparked two nights of arson and unrest there.