Doubts about whether police in the Southern California city of Huntington Park used excessive force have been raised after videos purportedly showing the moments before the shooting death of a double-amputee man holding a knife following a stabbing attack went viral.
According to a statement released by the Huntington Park Police Department on Monday, officers responded to a stabbing call on Thursday afternoon. A victim with a life-threatening stab wound resulting in a collapsed lung and internal bleeding was discovered by responding officers.
According to HPPD’s investigation, the victim stated that a Black man in a wheelchair dismounted the wheelchair, ran to the victim without provocation and stabbed him in the side of the chest with a 12″ butcher knife.” The victim was rushed to the hospital, where HPPD said he or she was in critical condition.
Officers were shot after the suspect continued to threaten officers with the butcher knife, HPPD said. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department initially stated that the suspect was shot in the upper torso and later pronounced dead at the scene.
Due to ongoing investigations by HPPD, the Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the involved officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, HPPD said. The sheriff’s office has confirmed an investigation is underway but has made no further comment.
Anthony Lowe’s Family is Demanding Justice
Anthony Lowe was identified by family members; authorities did not release his name. Legal representation for Lowe’s family has initiated a claim against the city in anticipation of a wrongful death lawsuit. A state court lawsuit can be filed after 45 days if Huntington Park officials have not responded.
A city spokesman, Sergio Infanzon confirmed that the city had received the claim but offered no further comment. The Lowe family is demanding justice by pinpointing the responsible police officers and bringing them to justice.
They are also demanding access to surveillance footage from a nearby medical clinic that they say captures the entire incident. When CNN inquired about the video, the hospital said it had been turned over to authorities and the network would not be allowed to view it.
Videos recorded by onlookers and shared online appear to show the altercation between police and Lowe before the shooting on Thursday. A close relative of Lowe’s told CNN the man in the video is indeed Lowe. There’s a video of two cops pointing their guns at Lowe.
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The officer follows Lowe as he walks in the opposite direction with the latter apparently carrying a shiny object in his hands. The view was then blocked by a police car. The moment it appears the police open fire is captured on camera from a different angle.
Dorothy Lowe, Anthony Lowe’s mother, said at a press conference on Monday,
The way they killed my son, they murdered my son in a wheelchair with no legs. They need to do something about it because I want justice for my son.
The possibility that Lowe stabbed someone before the opening fire was not addressed by Lowe’s relatives. Members of the family and the community are demanding that District Attorney George Gascon of Los Angeles County file criminal charges against the officers.
Cliff Smith, an organizer with the Coalition for Community Control Over the Police said,
There can be no justification for killing Anthony and we’re here to stand with his family and the community to fight for justice for Anthony.
Communications Director Tiffiny Blacknell told CNN in a statement that it is inappropriate to comment until the case is formally presented because an independent review will be conducted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office after the sheriff’s department finishes its investigation.
We are aware that the Black community in Los Angeles is in shock and looking for explanations. Additionally, Los Angeles County deserves to know how and why these incidents have occurred, she acknowledged that nothing can heal the trauma the community is experiencing right now.
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