Notes on police violence in America

Video shows execution-style murder of homeless man by Los Angeles police

By Evan Blake
2 March 2015

On Sunday March 1, a group of Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers shot and killed a homeless man in broad daylight as he was pinned to the ground, according to bystander video posted on Facebook.

The execution-style murder occurred after the unarmed man engaged in a brief scuffle with the large group of police officers on Los Angeles’s skid row. Five gunshots can be heard on the recording after the man has clearly been tackled and subdued by the officers. None of the officers involved were injured in the incident, according to an official police statement.

The shooting prompted an angry response from bystanders, who commented repeatedly that there were no guns present and that the large group of officers had no reason to use lethal force.

Police officers dragged the homeless victim out of his tent after he refused to crawl out himself, Tasing him in the process. Police have refused to release the name of the victim or of the officers involved. Witnesses told reporters that the victim’s name was “Africa,” and that he had been living on skid row for four months after being released from a mental hospital.

Family of Zambrano-Montes presses for federal investigation

The family of Antonio Zambrano-Montes demanded a federal investigation into his killing this week. Police gunned down Zambrano-Montes, an unarmed resident of Pasco, Washington, on February 10 after he allegedly threw rocks at a police vehicle.

Zambrano-Montes was killed by a volley of at least six or seven rounds that directly hit his body, along with two grazing wounds, according to a third autopsy report published this week.

A previous independent autopsy found that bullets struck Zambrano in the back of his right arm and his buttocks, and five more rounds struck the front of his body.

The autopsy reports contradicted official statements of investigators in Pasco. Kennewick Police Sgt. Ken Lattin, a spokesman for the special unit investigating Zambrano-Montes’ death, stated that he was shot five or six times, but that “there were no shots in the back.”

Zambrano-Montes was retreating when he was first shot by police, according to witnesses. A cell-phone video of the event demonstrates that as the victim stopped to turn around, the police continued firing on the unarmed man.

“In all, about 15 rounds were fired in a very congested area during rush hour. Having mortally wounded him, the police proceeded to handcuff this dying man without rendering aid or even checking his pulse,” noted a letter from community group Consejo Latino, also demanding a federal investigation into the shooting.

“The three police officers who engaged Mr. Zambrano are Ryan Flanagan, Adam Wright and Adrian Alaniz. It should be noted that officer Flanagan and another officer were accused in 2009 of racial profiling and excessive force for pressing the face of a 30-year-old Hispanic woman onto the hot hood of a police car as they detained her. She suffered second-degree burns, which led to litigation,” Consejo Latino wrote.

Protests over the police killing of Zambrano-Montes continued in Pasco for the third Saturday in a row, with roughly 35 people marching through the city.

Autopsy report confirms Jessica Hernandez shot from the side

Denver Police Department officers approached the parked car where 16-year old Jessica Hernandez and her friends were sitting from behind and quickly fired four times into the driver’s-side window without even yelling any commands at the five youths, according to an anonymous witness cited by the Associated Press .

Officers then pulled Hernandez out of the car, and handcuffed her motionless body with her face pressed to the ground, witnesses said. The Hernandez family’s attorney, Qusair Mohamedbhai, said that scratches on the girl’s face “confirm this inhumane treatment.”

An initial autopsy report was released by the Denver Police Department (DPD) last Friday had already confirmed that police shot Hernandez multiple times on the left side of her body. The autopsy showed that police shot Hernandez in the torso, pelvis and thigh, but it has not been determined how many times she was shot.

The autopsy showed that two bullets entered the left side of her chest and exited on the opposite end of her torso, confirming an anonymous witness’ report that she was shot from the driver’s side of the car.

“These facts undermine Denver Police Department’s claim that Jessie was driving at the officers as they shot her. The wound path and trajectory of the bullet that likely killed Jessica Hernandez undermines the version of events as indicated by the Denver Police Department,” Mohamedbhai, noted in response to the autopsy.

The Hernandez family has issued a request for an independent autopsy and rejected claims by the police department that officers fired into the parked car where the teenage Hernandez was sitting with friends only after the vehicle began to drive toward one of them.

Police keep silent the Taser killing of an unarmed homeless man in Coconut Creek, Florida

Official silence on the in-custody death of 39-year-old homeless man Calvon Andre Reid has continued for over a week, with Coconut Creek police failing to provide any press release on the matter.

Multiple eyewitnesses have stated that Reid was shot with Tasers by multiple officers early last Sunday morning in the Wynmoor condominium complex retirement community.

Eyewitnesses have told local reporters that as many as four officers fired four Taser shots in two successive rounds of shooting. Witness John Arendale told FloridaBulldog.org that after the first round of Taser shots, roughly five officers “were around and on top of the man,” prompting him to shout “They are going to kill me.”

Local police have responded to press inquires by stating that all aspects of the investigation were “confidential.”

Reid “mysteriously turned up behind the gated walls at about 1:30 a.m., bleeding from unknown injuries and asking for help,” his father, Calvin Reid told Local 10 News. Police “used a Taser at least three times,” sending his son into cardiac arrest, Reid said.

“Stop moving or I will break your fucking arm,” one officer told Reid, according to a report sent to FloridaBulldog.org by Arendale’s fiancé, Bonnie Eshleman. A third officer “came around to where his head was and hit him with something about a foot long,” Eshleman wrote.

Her report continues, noting that, “After a few minutes they were getting him to his feet. He pulled away and started to run. Two shots were fired (same popping sound) and he fell to the ground. The bush blocked my view of him except his feet…. A few minutes later I heard a cop say, ‘Is he breathing?’”

Neither Arendale nor Eshleman have been contacted or interviewed by detectives.

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