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2 Mar, 2015 02:44

Protests over LAPD fatally shooting mentally ill homeless man

Protests over LAPD fatally shooting mentally ill homeless man

Video footage of Los Angeles police officers shooting dead a homeless black man, aka Africa, has triggered an avalanche of protest on social media. The man had allegedly been just recently released after spending 10 years in a psychiatric facility.

Footage of the incident, published on Facebook by one of the witnesses, shows a group of LAPD officers scuffling with two people. After two officers dragged one person away, others wrestled the second person to the ground. One of the officers is heard saying “Drop the gun!” About five shots can then be heard.

While on the ground,suspect and #lapd officers struggled over one of officer's handgun at which point an officer involved shooting occurred

— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) March 2, 2015

(Warning: Video contains violence and offensive language)

Police have not identified the man, who was declared dead at a hospital shortly after the shooting which occurred around noon, The Los Angeles Times reported citing police spokesman Sgt. Barry Montgomery.

#lapd officers attempted to use a #TASER to subdue suspect but suspect continued fighting and resisting. Suspect fell to the ground...

— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) March 2, 2015

No officers were injured in the incident, Montgomery said, adding that police were responding to a robbery call on the 500 block of San Pedro Street.

LAPD: No guns recovered at scene of street execution. Three officers fired on the restrained man.

— JeffSharlet (@JeffSharlet) March 2, 2015

LAPD officers shoot, kill man in skid row confrontation. @SteveKuzj reports. http://t.co/W0nqzOGTPBpic.twitter.com/HJQdTvmRby

— KTLA (@KTLA) March 2, 2015

Witnesses at the scene identified the victim as a homeless man known by his street name ‘Africa.’ Ina Murphy, a local resident, told the paper that Africa told her that he had recently been released from a mental facility where he spent 10 years.

#SkidRowhttp://t.co/H4xyAw8eLK These are the people who can tell you what happened, not the #LAPD

— publicOutcry NFZ (@dingalingy55) March 2, 2015

An investigation is now underway to determine whether the officers used excessive force, CBS reported.

Activists say #LAPD will talk to media but won't talk to the #SkidRow activists.

— Jasmyne Cannick (@jasmyne) March 2, 2015

Witness Yolanda Young said the victim was arguing with another man inside a tent prior to the standoff with police.

Next thing I know,” Young told CBS, “dude swung on a cop and the cop swung back. And they were hitting on him and then two other cop cars pulled up and they got out of the car and ran over there, and they had three tasers out.”

Small #LAPD protest of today's officer involved shooting happening at Pershing Park right now. #SkidRowpic.twitter.com/imWYr4iq04

— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBCLA) March 2, 2015

The sound of a Taser could also be heard in the video.

The shooting occurred in downtown Los Angeles' Skid Row, near the Union Rescue Mission which provides a number of services to homeless people,BuzzFeedreports.