Los Angeles police shoot unarmed man who raised towel-covered hand

Los Angeles police shoot unarmed man who raised towel-covered hand
PHOTO: Reuters

Los Angeles police shot and critically wounded an unarmed man after he raised his towel-wrapped hand at officers who thought he was brandishing a gun, a department spokeswoman said on Saturday.

The man, in his 30s, was walking on a busy street in the Los Feliz neighborhood and "appeared to be in distress" when police approached him around 6:30 p.m. local time on Friday, Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman Rosario Herrera said.

As officers exited their patrol car, the man extended a towel-wrapped hand at them, Herrera said.

Officers told the individual to drop the gun before firing, she said. The man, whose identity has not been released, was in critical condition on Saturday. The number of shots fired by police was still being investigated, Herrera said.

The man was later determined to have been unarmed and no weapon was found at the scene.

A passing motorist recorded police arresting the man, who appears to be bleeding from the head, and posted the video online, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The incident is the latest in a string of police-involved shootings in Los Angeles, and comes amid nationwide protests over policing tactics and use of force, especially in minority communities.

In May, Los Angeles police shot and killed an unarmed and homeless black man in Venice, prompting protests and a town hall meeting to discuss law enforcement's relationship with the community.

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles police chief and an independent watchdog determined two patrolmen were justified in the shooting death of unarmed black man Ezell Ford last year.

Ford was killed two days after the fatal police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, which triggered a wave of protests across the country calling for a reform of policing tactics.

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