A California Highway Patrol officer fatally shot a man on a Los Angeles highway Sunday during an altercation that was partially captured on video.
State authorities have launched an investigation into the deadly encounter, which began when the officer on Interstate 105 responded to a call about a man walking on the highway.
Video of the confrontation captured by a witness and Published on On social media, the officer starts on top of the man as the two wrestle on the ground.
After a few seconds, the officer tries to get up and draws his gun when the man appears to kick him.
The officer then shot several times at the man, who lay motionless after the shots.
The officer keeps his gun drawn for about a minute before the video cuts out.
The state highway patrol said it received calls about the man walking on the highway before responding to the scene.
“During contact with the pedestrian, a fight ensued and shots were fired at an involved officer,” CHP said in its statement.
Further questions about the incident were referred to the California Department of Justice, which confirmed it was investigating the shooting.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s office confirmed the person’s death but did not release the identity or cause of death.
Los Angeles City Councilman Tim McOsker, State Senator Steven Bradford and Los Angeles State Representative Mike Gipson issued a joint statement calls for a thorough investigation into the shooting and peace in the community while the investigation is conducted.
“The video is shocking and this shooting must be quickly and fully investigated,” McOsker said in a statement, calling for transparency.
Bradford said the shooting “appears to be an unnecessary use of deadly force.”
Travis Norton, a law enforcement officer who heads the California Assn. of the Tactical Officer After Action Review, warned to the Los Angeles Times This footage is only a limited way to uncover a police shooting.
“It is difficult to make a diagnosis without knowing what the officer saw, experienced and interpreted,” Norton told the newspaper.
“All I see is a very brief scuffle. I see the suspect pointing what looks like a gun. … It appears from the video that, without knowing anything else, the use of lethal force appears appropriate.”
Although use-of-force expert Ed Obayashi also cautioned against jumping to conclusions from the video, he said investigators would want to know why the officer approached the man without backup nearby.
“They were able to close the highway, so there was probably law enforcement in the area,” said Obayashi, who investigates police shootings for law enforcement agencies in California.
He also stressed that the investigation will focus on whether the man was armed and why the officer fired his weapon after he stood up and retreated from the altercation.
“Was there a knife? Or a stun gun?” Obayashi said investigators would investigate. “We don’t know what type of threat this officer perceived.”
With post wires