California Highway Patrol officer wrestles pedestrian on Interstate 105, ends in an officer-involved fatal shooting

LOS ANGELES, CA - Law enforcement officials are investigating an officer-involved shooting that took place in the middle of a Los Angeles freeway.

According to the Associated Press (AP), the fatal shooting took place on Sunday, November 19th, after a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer responded to multiple calls of a male pedestrian walking in the westbound lanes of Interstate 105. All traffic in that direction was temporarily blocked. 

The responding officer attempted to convince the man to get off the freeway by using verbal commands, but the man refused to do so. It was at that point that a struggle ensued between the officer and the pedestrian. In a statement following the incident, CHP said, "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 statement added, "Following the pedestrian's use of the weapon against the officer, and in fear for his safety, the officer fired his service weapon." Part of the incident was caught on video. According to the New York Post, video of the incident was taken by a witness and then circulated on social media. 

The beginning of the video shows the officer and pedestrian physically fighting on the ground, with the officer on top of the man. The man appears to strike the officer in the face with his fist and then after a few more seconds of struggling, the officer fires three to four rounds at the man, who then becomes limp and is no longer moving. 

It also appears that the officer reaches for his radio to relay a message to dispatch. The man was pronounced dead at the hospital. CHP said that it received calls about the man walking on the freeway before an officer responded. CHP said, "During the contact with the pedestrian, a struggle ensued and an officer-involved shooting occurred."

The California Department of Justice has confirmed that it is investigating the shooting. The Los Angeles County medical examiner's office confirmed that the person died, but did not provide identification and a cause of death has not yet been released. 

Ed Obayashi, a use-of-force expert who investigates police shootings for law enforcement agencies in California, said that people should not jump to conclusions from watching the video alone. He said that investigators will want to know why the officer approached the pedestrian without a partner or other backup nearby, adding, "They were able to close the freeway, so presumably there was law enforcement in the area."

He said that the investigation will focus on whether the man was armed and why the officer felt the need to shoot after standing up and disengaging from the fight. He added, "Was there a knife? Or a stun gun? We don't know what kind of threat this officer perceived."

Travis Norton, a law enforcement officer who leads the California Association of Tactical Officer After Action Review, cautioned that the footage is a limited way to get the details of a police shooting. He said, "It is hard to diagnose without knowing what the officer saw, experienced and interpreted was happening."

He added, "All I see is a very short scuffle. I see the suspect point something that appears to look like some sort of weapon ... From the video, without knowing anything else about it, the use of deadly force appears appropriate." 

State Senator Steven Bradford, Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson and Councilmember Tim McOsker, who represent the area where the shooting occurred, released a joint statement calling for transparency by CHP. 
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Comments

Brett

Politicians need to mind their own ineptitudes and stay out of law enforcement where they traditionally have ZERO knowledge

David

Amen.

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