A video has emerged showing cops in California shooting dead a homeless black man as he lay on the ground.
The victim was known on the street as “Africa”. Reports say he had become homeless after receiving treatment for mental illness for ten years.
His killing took place at a homeless camp on Skid Row in central Los Angeles (LA), close to the city’s financial district.
The video shows cops dragging a man to the ground and piling on top of him in front of outraged onlookers and appearing to use a stun gun.
A woman picks up a police baton and is pushed to the floor and restrained by officers. A shot rings out followed by four more in quick succession and the man lies still on the ground.
Witnesses walk up to confront the officers in disbelief. The person filming the video says, “Why did y’all shoot that man? They just shot that man right there.
“Six police just killed this man. Ain’t nobody got no gun. That man is dead now.”
Anger begins to grow as a crowd gathers. Another onlooker is heard telling cops, “You guys are fucking cowards.”
Cops claim that they were called to the scene after reports of a robbery. They say they tried to subdue the man but he had “continued fighting and resisting”.
As they restrained him on the ground an officer is heard saying “drop the gun”. But LA police commander Andrew Smith has confirmed no gun was found at the scene. He said three officers, including a sergeant, had fired their guns at the man on the ground.
The officers have been placed on leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
The killing has provoked fury. Black Lives Matter protesters gathered in the rain in Pershing Square, less than a mile from the scene, on Sunday night.
Last year police killings of unarmed black people sparked weeks of protests. Tens of thousands of people marched for justice in cities across the US.
Another clip emerged last month of a police shooting in New Jersey. A police dashboard camera shows Jerame Reid and a friend being pulled over by cops Braheme Days and Roger Worley on 30 December last year.
Days is seen ordering Jerame out of the car saying, “If you reach for something, you’re going to be fucking dead.”
Jerame tells him he isn’t reaching for anything and tries to push his way out of the car with his hands up. Both officers open fire, killing Jerame.
The website Killed By Police has estimated that some 136 people have died at the hands of US cops in 2015 alone. That’s one person killed every eight hours.