Protests over LAPD fatally shooting mentally ill homeless man

Screenshot from video published by Facebook user Anthony Blackburn
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.

(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.

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.

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.

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

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.”

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.