The Los Angeles Police Department released surveillance video Tuesday that shows the moments before police shot and killed an 18-year-old teen in South Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon.
The 45-second clip, which the LAPD posted to its YouTube channel, shows a suspect reported to be Carnell Snell Jr. in a shopping center. The young man paces back and forth in front of shops before crouching down behind an SUV. An object believed to be a handgun is removed from his waistband. The young man hesitates, then puts the item back in his waistband and runs along the walkway in front of the shops in the center before turning down a path out of view of the cameras. A few seconds later, an officer can be seen following him on foot.
The Associated Press reports that Police Chief Charlie Beck said that Snell ran between two houses and then turned toward police with the gun in his hand. Officers fired three shots, and Snell hopped over a fence before turning toward police again. Police fired three more shots, and that is when Snell collapsed to the ground.
Nothing in the video indicates that Snell was threatening police, and police still have not said whether Snell made any threatening moves toward them before they fired at him.
The LAPD typically releases video only when ordered to do so by a court, but Beck told reporters that he released the video to “promote public safety and correct misinformation about the shooting.”
"I think it's important to put forward information to clarify so that people can put these events, tragic as they are, in perspective," Beck said. "This is not done in any way to denigrate Mr. Snell."
Saturday’s pursuit began when police tried to pull over a Nissan Altima in which Snell was a passenger. Police said the car had temporary paper plates “that did not match the year of the vehicle,” which led them to believe the car might be stolen.
It is worth noting that California does not have temporary plates that display a year on them. When a person purchases a vehicle, he or she is required only to display a small notice of sale on the right-hand side of the front windshield. A law requiring temporary plates on all vehicle sales does not go into effect until 2019. So what kind of plate were police looking at when they attempted to stop the vehicle?
Black Lives Matter organizers gathered Tuesday morning at a meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission to protest Snell’s death. They demanded that Beck resign. The meeting eventually had to be closed to the public after demonstrators interrupted speakers.