Lawmakers are demanding more transparency after a video was released showing a California Highway Patrol officer fatally shooting a man during a struggle on the 105 Freeway in the Watts area. The incident occurred on Sunday and has raised concerns about the use of force by law enforcement officials. The lawmakers are calling for a thorough investigation into the incident to determine if the officer’s actions were justified and to ensure that accountability is upheld in cases of police brutality.
At approximately 3:15 p.m., the occurrence took place in the westbound lanes close to Long Beach Boulevard.
On social media, a video depicts a CHP officer and a suspect grappling on the pavement briefly before the officer draws his service weapon and shoots multiple times from close range.
The CHP reported that the man was walking in the lanes of the freeway, going against traffic. Despite repeated requests to get out of the roadway, he refused to comply, leading officers to stop all westbound traffic.
According to a statement, a scuffle broke out between the officer and the pedestrian as the former approached the latter on the freeway. During the altercation, the pedestrian managed to get hold of a taser he was carrying and used it to subdue the officer.
Officials reported that the officer, fearing for his safety, discharged his service weapon and hit the pedestrian. At present, the identity of the pedestrian has not been disclosed.
At present, there is no available video that documents the events that occurred prior to the altercation.
Los Angeles Councilmember Tim McOsker, along with other representatives from the Watts area, expressed their shock and called for a thorough and prompt investigation into the shooting. McOsker extended his prayers to the impacted community and urged fellow elected officials and civic leaders to join him in calling for peace during this time.
Other representatives echoed the call for “peace,” but it is unclear if community protests were planned or if there was any specific reason for the call.
Senator Steven Bradford expressed his deep concern over the disturbing video of the shooting. He strongly believes that the use of deadly force seems uncalled for and unnecessary. The community is entitled to receive answers regarding this incident. He further added that had the roles been reversed, people would have immediately demanded murder charges.
Donny Joubert, the President of Watts Gang Task Force, and California State Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson have expressed their concerns regarding the incident.
Upon watching the video footage, Roger Clark, a renowned use of force expert and former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy, doubts the possibility of the shooting being considered as justified.
Clark, in an interview with KTLA’s Sandra Mitchell, emphasized the importance of fundamental training which dictates that a subject should not be engaged with a gun in hand. He added that for there to be a credible threat, an officer must be in danger and unable to reposition themselves. In such a situation, the use of a firearm is justified.
The independent review of the shooting is being conducted by California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office, as announced by him.
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