LOS ANGELES (AP) – The family of a homeless man shot and killed by Los Angeles police during a confrontation on Skid Row that led to several protests has filed a $20 million claim against the city.
The claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Charly Leundeu Keunang’s parents and sister says officers “initiated” the struggle that ended with the March 1 death, the Los Angeles Times reported (http://lat.ms/1dwGczk ).
The family accuses the city and Police Department of excessive force, assault and battery, wrongful death and constitutional violations. City officials didn’t immediately comment on the claim.
In a letter, lawyers for Keunang’s family called on Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey to investigate the death, release video from cameras that officers wear on their uniforms, and criminally charge the three officers who opened fire.
“Law enforcement officers are trained to de-escalate situations and to only use lethal force as a last resort,” the family said. “The LAPD officers who killed Mr. Keunang violated these protocols and their reckless mistakes and misconduct resulted in this unnecessary death.”
Cellphone video recorded the killing of the 43-year-old Cameroon national during an arrest. Keunang became combative, grabbed for a rookie policeman’s gun and was shot by three other officers, investigators said.
Authorities have said the officers had arrived to investigate a robbery report and the man refused to obey their commands.
The officers were placed on leave, pending the investigation.
Members of several African immigrant communities are collecting money for a May memorial service and to return Keunang’s body to Cameroon, the Times said.