STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles City Council has agreed to pay nearly $2 million to the family of man killed by police in Downtown’s Skid Row neighborhood three years ago.
The council approved the $1.95 million to settle a lawsuit stemming from the deadly shooting of Charly “Africa” Keunang, a mentally ill, homeless man. On March 1, 2015, police were responding to a report that Keunang, 43, had attacked a neighbor on a Skid Row sidewalk and thrown his tent into the street.
A bystander’s cell phone video captured moments before the shooting shows Keunang, a Cameroonian national, fighting with officers on the ground before a stun gun’s clicking can be heard. Several shots ring out soon thereafter.
The cell phone video made national headlines, prompting a “Justice For Africa” demonstration against police violence in L.A.
The Los Angeles police commission in 2016 ruled the use of lethal force against Keunang was justified, saying the officers killed him in self-defense. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Officer failed to bring criminal charges against any of the officers.
Back in May, a jury found two of the officers involved in the shooting were financially liable for Keunang’s death. A third officer was cleared.
Officers’ bodycam footage released nearly three years after the incident shows one officer warning Keunang he would be hurt if he did not comply. “The taser is going to hurt,” says the officer. During the subsequent struggle, an officer can be heard screaming, “He has my gun!” twice before before Keunang is shot.
An autopsy showed Keunang had methamphetamine in his system when he died. He was shot six times, according to the report.
Tuesday’s settlement was approved on a 10-1 vote, with former LAPD officer and now-Councilman Joe Buscaino dissenting. When the council reconsidered the vote, Mitch Englander, a reserve LAPD officer, also voted against the settlement, making it 12-2.
Keunang’s family had originally filed a $20 million claim against the city.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)