Los Angeles police released surveillance video from the moments before they shot and killed an 18-year-old man Saturday, showing him wielding a gun.
However, the video does not capture the actual shooting of Carnell Snell, Jr., one of four police shooting deaths in Southern California within a week that sparked protests.
And the word on the street is that Snell ditched the gun as he was being chased.
But LAPD said he turned towards them with the gun in his hand, making them fear for their lives. And that the gun was found less than five feet from his body.
Whether that’s true or not, the police narrative will be bolstered by the video, which shows Snell pulling a gun out of his waistband and holding it in his left hand as he crouches behind a car before appearing to place it back into his waistband as he continues running.
The video shows him turning into an alleyway with a cop running behind him. The video contains no audio.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said he chose to release the video in the name of transparency, but that only prompted activists to wonder why hasn’t he released countless other videos that are said to be under investigation.
According to the Los Angeles Times:
Local activists said Beck’s decision shows the department can release footage quickly without impacting an investigation and undercuts the agency’s routine refusal to release video in connection with controversial uses of force. Beck, along with other law enforcement leaders, has said he generally opposes releasing body camera footage, expressing concerns about violating privacy and possibly interfering with investigations.
“Now it just knocks out the rationale that police officials, LAPD officials, have for not releasing video,” said Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a civil rights advocate and president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable.
A debate about the LAPD’s policy on releasing videos connected to shootings by officers could begin this month. Police Commission President Matthew Johnson said early Tuesday that he will recommend a process for the civilian panel to evaluate the department’s stance on the release of footage.
Despite the department’s hope that the footage might stymie outrage in the community, a vocal group of protesters descended on the Police Commission’s weekly meeting, chanting “fire Charlie Beck.”
The incident took place after police attempted to pull a car over believed to have been stolen. Snell, who was sitting in the back seat, then hopped out the car and ran away, appearing to be “holding his waistband as if he was supporting something.”
That’s usually the same story we hear after every shooting, but in this case, the video does match their narrative.