Authorities in California began an investigation Monday, after a California Highway Patrol Officer shot and killed a male over the weekend during a struggle that was recorded on video. The incident occurred at the end of a freeway in Los Angeles.
In a press release, the agency stated that the fatal encounter happened after multiple calls were received from the highway patrol about a man walking on the westbound lanes along Interstate 105 south of LA County. Traffic in this direction was temporarily stopped.
The statement stated that “During contact with the pedestrian a struggle occurred and an officer was involved in shooting.”
Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that the person had died, but refused to provide an identification number until family members were notified. The cause of death wasn’t immediately disclosed.
California Department of Justice is the usual investigator of fatal police shootings. The Justice Department confirmed that it was conducting an investigation, but did not provide any additional details.
In a minute-long video posted by a passerby on social media, an officer is seated on top of a person while the two wrestle in the middle of the closed freeway. The original video was not identified.
A shot is fired as they struggle and the officer jumps up to his feet, while the other man lies limp on the sidewalk. Video shows that the officer fired at least four shots immediately at the man prone. Throughout the rest of the video, the officer holds his gun at the ready while the man remains motionless.
Ed Obayashi is a California-based expert on the use of force who investigates police shootings in California for law-enforcement agencies. He cautioned that it was not wise to jump to conclusions based solely on video evidence.
Obayashi says investigators are likely to want to know how the officer managed the situation without any backup. He said that since they were able shut down the freeway it was likely there was some law enforcement nearby.
Obayashi said that the investigation would focus on whether or not the man was armed, and why the officer shot after standing up and leaving the fight.
Or a stun gun?” Or a stun gun?” Obayashi stated that investigators would ask. “We don’t even know what type of threat the officer perceived.”