A southern Los Angeles neighborhood saw heated protests for the second night in a row Sunday over the shooting death of an African-American man at the hands of police.
Demonstrators blocked an intersection Sunday night near the home of Carnell Snell Jr., who was shot dead by cops on Saturday. Protesters carried signs that read “jail killer cops.” One car was seen spinning donuts in the street and graffiti was found spray painted on some storefronts. Police said the crowd dwindled later into the night as cops equipped with riot gear moved in, according to the L.A. Times.
Other small protests took place in the same area on the previous night at the residence of Mayor Eric Garcetti. In a statement, Garcetti urged everyone to wait for “the completion of a thorough and proper investigation.”
Activists called on the LAPD to name the officers involved in the shooting death of Snell, 18. He was killed Saturday after a chase in which officers tried to pull over a car with paper license plates. The passenger of the car ran away to the back of a house, where he was shot. The driver got away. Police said they recovered a gun at the scene, but it is unclear if Snell was the one carrying it.
“We don’t want to see a cover-up. We don’t want to see a whitewash,” Earl Ofari Hutchinson of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable said after meeting with the Snell’s family. “We have a family that’s grieving. We have a community that’s grieving.”
In a statement, the LAPD said investigators will gather evidence related to the shooting to determine whether deadly force was necessary and the district attorney’s office will review it to see if any criminal charges are warranted.
Snell was the third black man in five days to die in confrontations with police in Southern California. Last Tuesday, Alfred Olango was fatally shot by an officer in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon, triggering three days of angry and sometimes violent protests. Olango was shot when he took a “shooting stance” and pointed at an officer with what turned out to be a 4-inch vape pen — an electronic cigarette device.
On Friday, Reginald Thomas died after being shot with a Taser by police in Pasadena. He was armed with a knife and his wife described him as mentally ill. His brother told a 911 dispatcher that Thomas was high and had a history of violence.
In Snell’s South Los Angeles neighborhood of small stucco houses and well-kept lawns there was a makeshift shrine of flowers and candles in front of the property where he died.
Christine Conley, a next-door neighbor of Snell’s for 10 years, described the teenager she knew as “CJ” as cheerful and polite, someone who liked to dress nicely and didn’t sport gang clothing or tattoos.
”He’s never given me any problems. He’s always been respectful and kind,” Conley said. “He was always happy.”
She said there is outrage in the black community “because of the way police handle our people.”
“If he was any other race than black, he may have had another chance,” she said.
Image: Los Angeles Police officers speak to neighbors and members of the community gathered around a makeshift memorial outside a residence on Sunday. AP / Damian Dovarganes