When you pass by a homeless person on the street, do you think about who they are as people? Do you consider their pasts, the struggles and strife that they’ve experienced? The rat-race of everyday life sometimes prevents us from fully sympathizing with these unfortunate individuals. Some people lack sympathy, believing that many people are homeless because of poor decisions that they’ve made, such as committing crimes or doing drugs. This kind of narrow-minded judgment is what prevents many Americans from exhibiting kindness and compassion on the streets. Instead of lending a hand to the less-fortunate, we walk right on by, as if these poor people did not even exist. Mental and physical disabilities are sometimes the cause of a person’s living on the streets. But does anyone stop to consider this? The answer is often “no.”
The poor and destitute are a sad fact of life; they inhabit nearly every major U.S. city and make their “living” begging for a few coins out-of-pocket. In their feeble state, the homeless are often forced to resort to extreme measures to sustain themselves. But policing these people is sometimes done in extreme ways as well. Because there are so few who will fight for the rights of the homeless, police officers may take advantage by abusing them or, in tragic cases, killing them.
On March 1, 2015, a homeless man from Los Angeles, California named Charly Leundeu Keunang was shot and killed by police. According to the LA Times, the man nicknamed “Africa” was living under a tree in the city’s poorest neighborhood. He was born in Cameroon, but allegedly moved to the United States under a false identity.
In 2000, Africa was convicted of armed bank robbery, and was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. Three years into his sentence, he was transported to a mental health facility. He was released in 2014 and began living in skid row.
On March 1st, Africa was chased down by police after he had stolen from another homeless person in the neighborhood. When police tried to arrest him, Africa resisted. But rather than apprehending him according to protocol, the police began to beat him. While he was underneath an officer, he tried to fight back. Meanwhile, the entire video was being recorded by a cell phone.
Suddenly, one of the officers reached for his gun and shot Africa to death. Police later claimed that Africa had reached for his pistol, and that, out of fear for his life, the officer shot him.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of police brutality, please call our Boston personal injury attorneys, 24/7, at 617-787-3700.