At a news conference yesterday, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck presented photographic evidence to convince us the homeless man who was shot dead by police officers in Los Angeles on Sunday, had tried to grab one of the cop's guns. Although he obviously had no qualms about pushing his own theory, Beck admonished the rest of us schlubs to not "rush to judgment" about what happened, and said unreleased video footage of the fatal confrontation will continue to be withheld from the public while the incident remains under investigation. None of the milquetoasts who attended the presser asked Beck why -- despite the active investigation -- it was proper for him to display photos in support of his argument, or why it was not premature for LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith to assert on Sunday: "It's clear there was a struggle for the officer's gun."
Actually, it's not clear at all the victim tried to disarm any of the cops, and according to the Los Angeles Times, even an enhanced version of the widely seen video originally posted on Facebook "appears to show [nothing more revealing than] the man's hand reaching in the direction of an officer's waistband." Why Times reporters were given an exclusive opportunity to view the altered footage is a mystery.
It's possible the police were justified in shooting the man known to locals as "Africa." But considering how the Times equivocated about what's visible in the video, it seems Smith and Beck have so far doled out more propaganda than credible information. Their disingenuousness signifies the department cannot be trusted to investigate itself.
WARNING: content contained in the video below is disturbing.
Originally posted at The Norman Report.