May 7, 2015; Los Angeles Times
Two weeks after one homeless black man brought suit against the police on Venice Beach for beating and hogtying him, Brendon Glenn, another unarmed young homeless man in that neighborhood, has been shot and killed by police. Glenn was also African American and only twenty-five years old.
“Any time an unarmed person is shot by a Los Angeles police officer, it takes extraordinary circumstances to justify that,” said Police Chief Charlie Beck after reviewing surveillance tapes from a camera mounted nearby. “I have not seen those extraordinary circumstances.”
The statement is of note since two months ago, after officers shot and killed still another homeless man on L.A.’s Skid Row, Beck used stills from a cellphone video to show the public what he saw as the man reaching for one officer’s gun, causing fellow officers to open fire. In this new Venice Beach case, Beck said he did not see “the supporting evidence that I normally would” to justify the shooting.
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A Los Angeles homeless services commissioner has called for an investigation into the Skid Row shooting. Rev. Kelvin Sauls, pastor at Holman United Methodist Church of Los Angeles, at that time said that Charly Leundeu Keunang was “one of many unarmed black men who have died at the hands of the LAPD…What we see is the LAPD continues to shoot to kill and blame the victim.”
Sauls, who has been on the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority commission since 2013, said, “Even the homeless people have dignity. There needs to be a thorough investigation by the appropriate agency.”
L.A. has a civilian police commission, and it, as well as the inspector general and the district attorney’s office, will investigate the Venice Beach shooting. For now, however, the two officers involved have reportedly been removed from the field.
Glenn, who had a drinking problem, had reportedly been seeking services at the Venice PAD (Protection and Direction), a drop-in spot for homeless people and troubled young adults, for the last month and a half. Timothy Pardue, who works at the site, less than 50 feet from where Glenn was shot, said, “He’s been coming in here for services, and he was in last night. He was talking about his mom and things he’s been going through. He was crying.”
A meeting between the community and police was scheduled to take place in Venice Beach last night.—Ruth McCambridge