US news briefs: racist cops kill

March 7, 2015

LA cops shoot dead homeless man

Los Angeles police fatally shot a man on March 1 in a confrontation that was caught on video, TeleSUR English reported on March 2.

The shocking footage shows several officers struggling with a man in an area known for its homeless population. The struggle continued once the man was on the ground and several shots were fired.

Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson Barry Montgomery said the officers were responding to a robbery call. He did not provide further details other than confirming that the homeless man in the video was declared dead at a hospital shortly after the shooting.

Local media said a police source alleged the homeless man, who was known as “Africa”, reached for an officer's gun during the scuffle. The victim has not yet been officially identified.

In 2011, two California police officers were captured on video beating to death Kelly Thomas — a homeless man with mental health issues.

Over the past year, US police have faced rising criticism following the killing of unarmed civilians, including Michael Brown, an 18-year-old Black teenager, fatally shot by officer Darren Wilson on August 9 in Ferguson, Missouri.

US cops kill third unarmed Mexican in two weeks

The Mexican government asked the US Department of Justice to “accompany the investigation” into the deaths of three Mexicans at the hands of US police in less than a month, TeleSUR English reported on March 3.

“The incident is deeply troubling and causes us great concern as it comes just after the recent deaths of Mexican nationals Antonio Zambrano Montes and Ruben Garcia Villalpando,” the Mexican foreign ministry said in a statement.

The statement said that on February 27, police in Santa Ana, California, fatally shot Ernesto Javier Canepa Díaz. Police, however, have not released the details of the incident.

The recent shootings of unarmed Mexican immigrants in the US calls into question use-of-force policies.

Last year, the US government spent US$17.9 billion on its immigration enforcement agencies Border Patrol, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the US Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program, which monitors immigrants’ statuses.

Ferguson police force consistently racist, report finds

The Ferguson police department is consistently involved in racist activities, the US Department of Justice found on March 2, TeleSUR English reported the next day.

According to a justice official who saw the report, which was commissioned in August last year after the fatal shooting of Black teenager Mike Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, officers in the Missouri town habitually target Black people.

A spokeswoman said the DOJ will use the report to negotiate with Ferguson officials, or potentially sue them.

The investigation took into account about 35,000 pages of police reports, which revealed that 93% of arrests were made on African-Americans. Sixty-seven percent of the population of Ferguson are Black.

Black people were also overwhelmingly the victims of bites from police dogs, and the court system is less likely to dismiss their cases, the report said.

A further preliminary report exposed how Ferguson police disproportionately targeted African Americans in traffic stops, which brings in extra revenue for the city.

Ferguson became the fiery epicenter of anti-police brutality and anti-racism protests after Brown’s shooting death last year. Many hope that the Justice Department report could serve as a template for country-wide change.

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