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Man shot and killed by LA police was holding plastic fork, video shows

Man shot and killed by LA police was holding plastic fork, video shows

Los Angeles police shot and killed a man who was holding a white plastic fork, newly released video shows.

Jason Maccani, 36, was fatally shot by Officer Caleb Garcia-Alamilla, who had been hired to the force less than a year ago, say officials.

On 3 February, Los Angeles Police Department officers responded to a 911 call that said a man was “getting aggressive” at a warehouse studio in downtown LA.

The caller, who said the man appeared to be “homeless” and “tweaking,” told police he was holding something that looked like a stick or a pole.

On Tuesday, law enforcement officials publicly released body camera footage of the fatal shooting, where seven police officers were present.

Mr Maccani is seen holding an object in the video, which police said they thought was a screwdriver or a knife, according to LAPD Capt. Kelly Muñiz

In the video, Police can be heard ordering Mr Maccani to come out with his hands up and walk backwards towards them, to which he complied. An officer then told him to stop, at which point he turned around and continued walking towards them, the footage shows.

Officers responded by shooting rubber bullets and beanbag rounds. Mr Maccani continued towards them, grabbed the barrel of the beanbag gun, and screamed.

He was then shot by one of the officers with a handgun, before being grabbed by another officer, slammed into a metal gate, and brought to the ground.

In the audio of the footage, an officer can be heard asking if anyone shot “lethal.” Another responded, “I did.”

The officer claimed he had shot Mr Maccani in the arm, but an autopsy showed he was actually shot in the chest.

Officers performed CPR on Mr Maccani until paramedics arrived, LAPD Captain Kelly Muñiz said. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Police recovered the object Mr Maccani was holding and determined it to be a plastic fork. It was taken into evidence.

The Maccani family has hired an attorney, NBC Los Angeles reported, and the shooting is now under investigation by the California Department of Justice.

"I remain concerned about the officer’s decision to use deadly force," LAPD Chief Michel Moore said.

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Mr Maccani’s family said he had a long history of mental health issues and was having a bipolar episode at the time of the shooting, but had never exhibited violent behaviour.

His brother, Mike Maccani, expressed doubt that officers could have seriously mistaken the white plastic fork for a dangerous weapon.

“I’d be more scared of a closed fist than a white plastic fork,” he said. “You’re telling me you thought that was a knife or a weapon that could seriously injure you?”

Mr Maccani was a football star in high school and studied mechanical engineering at UCLA, according to an obituary published by The Ventura County Star. In addition to his work as an engineer, he was also a yoga teacher.

He is survived by his wife, parents, three siblings, and several other relatives.

“Jason was deeply devoted to his family and his friends,” the obituary states. “He was a compassionate and caring person to all those he encountered, and never met a stranger. He loved engaging with all people and never lost his love of sports.”