Crime & Justice

No charges for officers in fatal shooting of homeless black man

Forty-three year-old Charly
Forty-three year-old Charly "Africa" Keunang was a onetime aspiring actor, convicted bank robber and identity thief, had immigrated to the U.S. posing as "Charley Robinet," a Frenchman.
Courtesy of Ventura County Sheriff's Office

Prosecutors have decided not to charge Los Angeles police officers with a crime in the fatal shooting of a homeless black man on Skid Row in March 2015.

Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant Chand Syed and Officers Francisco Martinez and Daniel Torres were justified in shooting 43-year-old Charly "Africa" Keunang because he attempted to take possession of another officer's gun, according to a L.A. County District Attorney's Office letter dated Nov 9.

Keunang posed a deadly threat to officers and civilians when he was shot six times on March 1, 2015, the D.A.'s letter said.

The Los Angeles Police Commission in April cleared officers of the shooting, though it found one officer's tactics violated policy.

The shooting brought international attention to L.A.'s Skid Row, where police have clashed with homeless for decades. And video of the shooting that was shot by a bystander has been viewed millions of times online and prompted protests in the city.

Keunang, a onetime aspiring actor, convicted bank robber and identity thief, had immigrated to the U.S. posing as "Charley Robinet," a Frenchman.

A KPCC analysis published last year found the DA's office hasn't charged a law enforcement officer in L.A. County with criminal charges related to an on-duty shooting since 2000. In that case, former LAPD officer Ron Orosco was charged with assault and sentenced to five years in prison.

Days after the shooting, local officials finally identified Keunang, who was 43 when he died.

Keunang's family has filed a $20 million lawsuit against the city and police department, which has not released footage from the officers' body-worn cameras.

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3229350-LA-UOF-15-0109.html