Police commander Andrew Smith claimed that around noon on Sunday, March 1, a robbery occurred in Skid Row and officers assigned to the LAPD’s Central Division and Safer Cities Initiative were released into the city to help attend to the situation. What is unclear, however, is the correlation between the suspected robbery and how police came upon a man who at the time was in a tent and is at this time only known as his street name of Africa.
According to one bystander, Dennis Horne, 29, Africa had been fighting with someone else in his tent when police arrived. An unnamed witness stated that in LA there can be tents up for people to sleep in but only from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., and police had been called to the scene earlier requesting Africa to dismantle his tent, which he had refused to do.
When the officers came on to the scene for the last time, according to Horne, the police used excessive force on Africa by entering his tent, dragging him out, and using a Taser on him for not cooperating. This is when the police got out of control. As seen in a video, Africa struggles to defend himself from being accosted by the officers in the first few seconds but is thrown to the ground when one of the officer’s nightsticks falls off his belt, prompting the officer to yell, “Get my stick! Get my stick!” as two white officers shove a girl who got near the nightstick and handcuff her.
At 0:18 into the video, the viewer can hear one officer heatedly say, “Stay still fuck nuts,” as he accosts Africa with a Taser, which can be heard pulsating in the background. Then, as four officers subdue the victim and seem to have him under control, one of the officers gets trigger happy and shoots the victim not one or two times but five times while the three officers hold him still.
Stats on the Los Angeles PD show that this is the third unarmed homeless person who has been killed in the past two months, which demonstrates how recklessly these supposed protectors of the community behave on the street. Across the U.S., police are becoming more violent and pushing the limits with excessive force every day, and we are feeling these losses as our mothers, sisters, uncles, brothers, spouses, friends, and children are stolen from us.