California police release video in attempt to justify fatal shooting of double amputee
Police in California have released a video of a fatal encounter between officers and a knife-wielding man whose legs had been amputated.
Huntington Park police shot and killed Anthony Lowe, 36, after they said they saw him trying to to stab another individual. The officers' report claims Lowe was ordered to drop the knife, but instead attempted to flee the scene. He was eventually gunned down and surrounded by a trio of police officers. He was shot nearly a dozen times by the pursuing officers.
Lowe's family demanded to see footage that could corroborate the department's version of events. However, the Huntington Park Police Department's officers do not wear body cameras.
Instead, the family asked for surveillance footage from nearby cameras to be made available. Police released the footage on Monday.
In the video, Lowe can be seen attacking a man using a knife at an intersection. Police arrive, and Lowe tries to flee. He is unable to get back into his wheelchair, so he attempts to flee using the remainder of his legs, which have been amputated. As a result, he does not move particularly fast and requires the use of an iron fence to steady himself as he tries to escape.
The officers begin following him at a distance with their guns drawn on him. At one point Lowe turns to slightly face the officers and makes a slashing motion with the knife. He is several feet away from the officers when he makes this motion.
As the police close in and encircle him, Lowe swings his blade around his head. An officer shoots him from the front, which prompts a volley of fire from the other officers, some of which appear to hit him in the back.
The family's lawyer, Annee Della Donna, criticised the police department for its use of force.
"There is absolutely no reason to shoot a double amputee in the back 11 times, who was hobbling away from officers," she said in a response to the footage.
Th department released the footage on Monday and did not take questions from the press during a news conference.
Huntington Park Police Chief Cosme Lozano said the officers involved have been placed on leave pending an investigation, and said the department released the video with "the goal of advancing full disclosure and transparency of the events that transpired from beginning to end."
Four days after the shooting, the department released a statement justifying its course of action by stating that Lowe had attacked another man, leaving him with a "life-threatening" wound that collapsed the victim's lung and caused internal bleeding.
The department went on to say that Lowe ignored verbal commands and appeared poised to throw his knife at the officers.