• Los Angeles police defend weekend fatal shootings of black men

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    LOS ANGELES: Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck on Monday defended the actions of officers involved in two fatal shootings of black men over the weekend that touched off protests and raised tensions. Beck said one of the victims, 18-year-old Carnell Snell Jr, was carrying a handgun that he pointed at officers chasing him on foot after he exited a suspected stolen car and fled. “At one point during their foot pursuit, which was 200 to 300 yards (meters) in total, they observed him remove a handgun from his waistband and hold it in his left hand,” Beck told reporters, displaying a photo of the weapon, which he said was fully loaded. He added that Snell during the chase had turned toward the officers with the gun in his hand and was shot twice. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The shooting touched off protests and further stoked a debate over police shootings of African Americans across the country. Some 40 protesters pelted Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s home with eggs over the weekend and young men were seen spray-painting the windows of local businesses late Sunday. A group of protesters also gathered on Monday at the Los Angeles police headquarters as Beck spoke to reporters, chanting “no justice, no peace” and “black lives matter.” Three of the protesters were arrested. The shootings took place amid heightened tensions nationwide over several high-profile police-related deaths that have sparked protests that have sometimes turned violent. Seventeen people were arrested in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon over the weekend following protests over the police shooting last Tuesday of Alfred Olango, a Ugandan immigrant. Olango’s sister had called police to report that he was acting erratically and walking in traffic. Police officials said he was gunned down after he pulled an object that turned out to be a vaping device from his pocket and pointed it at an officer.

    AFP

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