A group of lawmakers is demanding “transparency” after video surfaced showing a California Highway Patrol officer fatally shooting a man during a struggle on the 105 Freeway in the Watts area on Sunday.
The incident unfolded at about 3:15 p.m. in westbound lanes near Long Beach Boulevard.
A video posted to social media shows the CHP officer and the suspect wrestling on the asphalt for a few moments before the officer pulls out his service weapon and fires several shots at point-blank range.
According to a CHP statement, the man was walking in lanes of the freeway against traffic and refused repeated requests to get out of the roadway, prompting officers to stop all westbound traffic.
“As the officer approached the pedestrian, a struggle ensued in lanes of the freeway. During the struggle, the pedestrian was able to access a taser he had in his possession, activated the weapon and used the taser against the officer,” the release sated.
In fear for his safety, officials said the officer fired his service weapon, striking the pedestrian. The pedestrian’s name was not immediately released.
So far, no video has surfaced of the moments leading up to the scuffle.
“The video is shocking and this shooting must be fully investigated expeditiously,” said Los Angeles Councilmember Tim McOsker in a joint statement with other representatives from the Watts area. “My prayers go out to the whole community who have been impacted by this and I join my fellow elected officials and civic leaders in asking for peace at this time.”
It’s unknown if community protests were planned or what otherwise prompted the call for “peace,” which was echoed by other representatives.
“The video of this shooting is deeply disturbing,” said Senator Steven Bradford. “This appears to be an unnecessary use of deadly force. The community deserves answers. If the roles were reversed, people would be immediately calling for murder charges.”
Watts Gang Task Force President Donny Joubert and California State Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson also issued statements expressing concerns about the incident.
After reviewing the video, Roger Clark, a former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy and use of force expert, questions whether the shooting will be deemed justified.
“You do not engage with a subject gun in hand, period. That is fundamental training,” Clark told KTLA’s Sandra Mitchell. “There has to be a credible threat. My calculus is…an officer who is on his feet and can reposition, [that its] not a credible threat.”
California Attorney General Rob Bonta has announced that his office is conducting an independent review of the shooting.