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LA Narcs Kill Homeless Person Holding Knife

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #683)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues

[Editor's Note: This year, Drug War Chronicle is trying to track every death directly attributable to drug law enforcement during the year. We can use your help. If you come across a news account of a killing related to drug law enforcement, please send us an email at [email protected].]

LAPD: "To protect and serve" (Image via
Undercover LAPD narcotics detectives shot and killed an apparently homeless man at Fifth and Spring streets Tuesday afternoon. The man, as yet unnamed, becomes the 25th person to be killed so far this year in US domestic drug law enforcement operations.

According to police, the narcs were walking down the street when they saw a man who appeared to be "cutting up possible narcotics." The officers then "tried to make contact" with the man, and as they approached him, he turned, with the knife in his hand pointing at officers.

They then shot him. The man, who was in his mid-30s, was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

According to one news account headline, Undercover LAPD Detective Shoots, Kills Man Who Allegedly Tried to Rob Him, the man tried to rob the detectives. But nothing printed in any news account so far, including the brief article under that headline, supports that headline.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Moonrider (not verified)

The crime police have a specific job to do. Their job is to investigate crimes that have occurred, find out who did it, and arrest that person. We do NOT hire them to also be prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner. We NEED to make them stick to their jobs and quit taking on those other "roles" in oh so many cases. 

Drug arrests should not happen at all, but since the statutes say drugs are illegal, we know arrests will continue. However, the way they SHOULD occur is (only) after a full investigation (not merely a "tip" or the "word" of a snitch, a REAL investigation) the police then get an arrest warrant, stake out the home, and two officers arrest the suspect as he exits the home in broad daylight, transport him to the cop-shop, process him, and jail him until the arraignment. From that point it is up to the prosecutor and the courts to deal with him until the trial is over at which point he either goes free or is put in the hands of "correction" officers. Dynamic entry should be reserved for real hostage situations and mass murderers only, and cops should NEVER shoot a suspect unless innocent (not cop) lives are at stake.

These guidelines are only common sense. Do you agree?

Being disrespectful to a cop is NOT a crime. Neither is resisting arrest when one knows one has done nothing criminal. Many cops seem to be more worried about a person who rejects their authority to police non-criminal behavior than they are about catching actual criminals, and too many of those abuse that non-existent authority with violence against the non-compliant individual who may be heckling them (not a crime, btw) or capturing their actions on video (also not a crime). If we don't get the police under control, now, we'll all someday soon be cowering in our homes while America's Stasi roam the streets looking for victims to abuse.  Like the Seattle cop who shot the drunk woodcarver they, more often than not, shoot too soon and then try to cover it up later by saying stuff about the victim with which witnesses disagree, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if that is what happened in this case, too.

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 3:04am Permalink
TrebleBass (not verified)

If you have a gun and another person has a knife, you point it at them and say "drop the knife", the great majority of the time the person will drop the knife. In case the person charges at you with the knife in a clearly determined and dangerous way, you shoot them in the leg. How incompetent does a cop have to be not to be able to accomplish that? And this is assuming the guy charged at them with the knife (the whole trying to rob him thing seems like an absolute lie). If what really happened was that the guy just turned to them and he happened to be holding a knife and he pointed it at them in a scared reaction (the most probable thing in my opinion), then the cops were either scared and reacted by shooting him (which shows extreme incompetence and lack of mental preparedness that a trained cop is supposed to have), or they purposely shot him just because they knew they'd get away with it. 

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 5:12pm Permalink
Malkavian (not verified)

US cops seem so scared. I wonder if they intuitively know - after looking at their own harsh behavior - that had the scales been turned THEY would indeed be trying to kill cops for the way they behave? Which of course induces a paranoia that's 10 times stronger than anything marijuana could cause, which leads to them behaving more badly, which causes even more paranoia, and so on and so forth...

Meanwhile ... there's this guy whose deepest desire is to chill out on the couch with a joint after a hard days work. Maybe he even wants a good laugh.

And maybe the police could ... point guns somewhere else? Would be good for their paranoia.

Fri, 05/13/2011 - 6:06am Permalink

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