Man L.A. Cops Shot in Head Was Unarmed, Witness Says

The L.A. Weekly reports that a witness saw no knife on the Guatemalan immigrant.

By Julianne Hing Sep 09, 2010

Contrary to official Los Angeles Police Department reports, Manuel Jamines did not have a knife in his hand when police shot him in the head in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon, an eyewitness claims. LA Weekly reports that an eyewitness is set to give a press conference today to announce what she saw.

Jamines, a Guatemalan immigrant, was killed on the corner of 6th Street and Union in Los Angeles by Officer Frank Hernandez. Police said they responded to a call that a man had tried to stab a pregnant woman on the street. They said that the 37-year-old father of three was drunk and holding a knife. According to the LAPD, Hernandez shot at Jamines when he would not obey the cop’s orders, which were given in both English and Spanish, and raised the knife over his head and lunged at Hernandez with a three-inch blade. Jamines’ family says that he spoke neither English nor Spanish well; he spoke K’iche’, a language spoken by a million indigenous Mayans from Central America.

The killing has sparked community outrage and several nights of protest. At a community meeting on Wednesday night with the LAPD and the Guatemalan Consul General, hundreds packed a Los Angeles middle school and booed LAPD Chief Charlie Beck as he defended his officers’ actions. Tuesday night’s protests 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 Associated Press reports that LAPD Officer Frank Hernandez was involved in two previous on-duty shootings.