Los Angeles residents gathered for a heated meeting with the Los Angeles Police Department and the Guatemalan Consul general Wednesday night in the wake of a police shooting on Sunday afternoon that ended when the LAPD shot a 37-year-old Guatemalan immigrant dead.
Families and community members packed into the John H. Leichty Middle School on Wednesday evening and booed LAPD chief Charlie Beck when he read a witness statement who said she was grateful the LAPD responded when they did because Manuel Jamines, who was drunk and wielding a knife, was threatening her and a nearby pregnant woman. Community members were uninterested in Beck’s explanations; they shouted “Assassination!” and, “Pig!” at Beck while police in riot gear were surrounded the school outside.
The AP reports that LAPD Officer Frank Hernandez was involved in two previous on-duty shootings.
On Tuesday morning fourteen protesters were behind bars for clashes with police that took place over the course of the last two nights; the gathering became heated enough that police declared the protest an unlawful assembly at 9:30pm. On Monday and Tuesday night, protesters gathered on 6th and Union, where Manuel Jamines was shot by police who said that he was drunk and threatening people with a knife. Police say he did not respond to their commands, which were given in both English and Spanish. Jamines’ family says that he spoke neither language well; he spoke K’iche’, a language spoken by a million indigenous Mayans from Central America.
The AP reports that LAPD Officer Frank Hernandez shot Jamines twice in the head when he lunged at him with his knife. His family acknowledged that Jamines had a drinking problem but that he was not violent. Jamines died at the scene.
Tuesday’s protest ended with clashes between police and protesters. Hundreds gathered at the corner where Jamines was killed to voice their outrage, and then started marching to the LAPD Rampart station. The Los Angeles Times reports that protesters started trash can fires, broke bottles and threw eggs at police officers, who arrested four people.
The LAPD has defended the shooting incident, which they say happened in less than a minute, and says the angry community response has them flummoxed. The LA Times also captured this week’s outrage in a series of photos.