Late Homeless Man’s Mother Sues LAPD Again

      LOS ANGELES (CN) – The mother of a homeless man whose fatal shooting by LAPD officers became a national story when it was captured on video has filed a second lawsuit against the city.
     Video of LAPD officers shooting Cameroon native Charly Keunang, 43, in Skid Row downtown went viral last year after it was posted on social media. The 4-minute video of the fatal encounter on March 1, 2015 was viewed millions of times amid a series of high-profile police shootings.
     The Police Commission ruled that two officers and a sergeant were justified in shooting Keunang, known on Skid Row as “Africa.”
     Police Chief Charlie Beck said at the time that Keunang was a robbery suspect and that evidence supported reports he had tried to grab a rookie officer’s gun.
     Keunang’s mother Helene Tchayou says in her federal lawsuit that eyewitness accounts and phone and body camera footage tell a different story, and that the officers could have avoided deadly force.
     Represented by attorney Joshua Piovia-Scott, she sued in Superior Court last year.
     In the new, federal lawsuit, of Aug. 12, she calls the shooting a “classic case of abuse of power” and says her son, who was suffering from mental illness, was unarmed when he encountered the officers in the daytime on Skid Row.
     Tchayou says the officers created a panic after Keunang had crawled into his tent, dragging him out and punching and Tasering him before Sgt. Chand Syed and Officers Francisco Martinez Daniel Torres shot him six times at close range.
     “A mere 60 seconds passed from the moment police dragged Mr. Keunang from the tent to when he lay in his own blood, dying in front of passersby,” the lawsuit states.
     Keunang’s death led to protests on Skid Row, where people gathered at a curbside memorial at the spot where he had pitched his tent.
     Keunang’s father and sister also are plaintiffs.
     The defendants are the City of Los Angeles, Sgt. Syed, and officers Martinez, Torres and Joshua Volasgis.
     The family seeks punitive damages for wrongful death, excessive force, unlawful entry and other charges.
     Neither Piovia-Scott, the city nor the LAPD immediately responded to requests for comment Tuesday.

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