A disturbing video recorded by a bystander has gone viral, showing a fatal confrontation involving a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer on the 105 Freeway in Watts on a Sunday afternoon.
Around 3:15 p.m., the CHP responded to multiple calls reporting a man walking through traffic near the Wilmington Avenue exit of the 105 Freeway. According to CHP officials, a struggle ensued when a trooper made contact with the pedestrian, ultimately resulting in an officer-involved shooting, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The video, which has since gone viral on social media, depicts a CHP officer and another individual engaged in a physical struggle in the middle of the freeway. Within seconds, a gunshot can be heard. The officer then stands up and fires at least four additional shots at the prone man.
WARNING: The following clip contains imagery that some viewers may find disturbing
VIDEO MAY BE DISTURBING
Cellphone video of the CHP shooting on the 105 earlier today pic.twitter.com/YIHtycHTPW
— Downtown LA Scanner (@DowntownLAScan) November 20, 2023
The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed on Monday that the person involved in the incident had died, withholding identification pending notification of family, and not disclosing the cause of death.
The CHP has not released further details about the shooting, directing all inquiries to the California Department of Justice (DOJ), which investigates police shootings involving unarmed individuals. The state DOJ has confirmed that it is actively investigating the incident.
More from LA Times:
Travis Norton, a law enforcement officer who runs the California Assn. of Tactical Officers After Action Review, said video is a limited way to understand a police shooting.
“It is hard to diagnose without knowing what the officer saw, experienced and interpreted was happening,” Norton said. “All I see is a very short scuffle. I see the suspect point something that appears to look like some sort of weapon. … From the video, without knowing anything else about it, the use of deadly force appears appropriate.”
But other experts said the use of force raises many questions.
Ed Obayashi, a police shootings expert who investigates the incidents for numerous law enforcement agencies in California, said investigators will immediately ask the officer why he was engaging with the person without a partner or backup in the immediate vicinity.
Obayashi also said that investigators will look into why the officer felt the need to shoot the man after standing up and disengaging from him.