Shooting of Charley Leundeu Keunang

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Shooting of Charley Leundeu Keunang
Police pinning down Charley Leundeu Keunang.png
Screenshot of the police pinning down Keunang seconds before the shooting
DateMarch 1, 2015 (2015-03-01)
LocationSouth San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Filmed byBystander's cell phone camera
ParticipantsFrancisco Martinez, Daniel Torres, and Chand Syed (LAPD officers)
DeathsCharley Leundeu Keunang
ChargesNone filed

The shooting of Charley Leundeu Keunang, a 43-year-old Cameroonian national, occurred in Los Angeles, California, on March 1, 2015. He was shot by three Los Angeles Police Department officers.[1][2]

On December 1, 2016, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced that no criminal charges would be filed against the officers who shot Keunang, and that they considered it an act of self-defense. Later on 10 May, 2018, the Superior Court of California ruled that an officer used an unreasonable amount of force against Keunang and the case was settled with paying his family $1.95 million by the city.


Charley Leundeu Keunang went by the names of "Africa", "Cameroon", or "Charley Saturmin Robinet" (using a stolen ID). He was ordered by police to come out of his tent in Skid Row after fighting with someone inside the tent. Someone called 911 and reported that a robbery had occurred in the area. The officers stated that Keunang became aggressive and ignored commands.[3] After he refused the police order, they dragged him out of the tent. A physical altercation ensued with several police officers, during which three officers shot Keunang, resulting in his death. At least two videos captured the incident.[4][5][6][7]


Following Keunang's death, a protest was held locally in Los Angeles. The protesters organised using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Fourteen people were arrested in the course of the protest.[8]

Legal proceedings[edit]

The shooting was reviewed by the district attorney's office, the Police Commission and its independent inspector general.[9]

In February 2016, the Los Angeles Police Commission, the civilian panel that oversees the department, ruled that the shooting did not violate their policy on the use of deadly force, as Keunang had reached for an officer's weapon. The incident resulted in improvements in the training of officers as to how to better handle incidents involving people with mental health issues.[3]

On December 1, 2016, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced that they would not file criminal charges against the officers who shot Keunang (Francisco Martinez, Daniel Torres, and Chand Syed). Prosecutors stated that the officers acted in self-defense.[10]

On August 5, 2015, Keunang's parents and sister had filed a lawsuit against the city and Police Chief Charlie Beck.[11][12] On May 10, 2018, the federal jury of seven women and one man found that Francisco Martinez used an unreasonable amount of force against Keunang. They also found that Sgt. Chand Syed breached his duty to intervene. Lawyers for both sides agreed on a settlement in which the city would pay the man's family $1.95 million, according to Joshua Piovia-Scott, an attorney representing the family.[13]

It was believed that the videos captured by the officers’ body cameras[14], which were kept secret for years, were crucial for winning this case. The footage showed officers had the opportunity to deescalate the situation but instead became more aggressive and violent to Keunang. The officers threatened, punched, tased and finally shot Keunang 5 times. It was argued that the officers' actions escalated this situation and caused it to spiral out of control.[15][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Family of homeless man shot dead by LAPD on Skid Row files $20m claim". The Guardian. Associated Press. 30 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Man killed in Skid Row officer-involved shooting identified". ABC News.
  3. ^ a b Mather, Kate; Queally, James; Holland, Gale (February 2, 2016). "L.A. Police Commission clears officers in skid row shooting but faults officer in Burbank killing". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  4. ^ "Coroner Identifies Homeless Man On Skid Row Killed By LAPD : The Two-Way : NPR". Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  5. ^ "The homeless man killed by Los Angeles police and why we still don't know his real name". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  6. ^ "LAPD Shooting: Homeless Victim Stole French Man's Identity, Authorities Say - ABC News". Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  7. ^ Dolan, Jack; Hamilton, Matt; Emamdjomeh, Armand (2 March 2015). "Skid row shooting of homeless man by LAPD provokes search for more video". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  8. ^ Times, Los Angeles. "LAPD arrests 14 protesters after #BlackLivesMatter demonstration".
  9. ^ Times, Los Angeles. "Skid row shooting: Autopsy shows man shot six times, had meth in system".
  10. ^ Melley, Brian (December 2, 2016). "Los Angeles cops cleared in death of homeless black man". Associated Press. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  11. ^ "Skid Row shooting victim's survivors sue LAPD, city". Wave Wire Services (7 August 2015). Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  12. ^ "Superior court lawsuit".
  13. ^ "LAPD officers are found liable in skid row shooting death of Charly 'Africa' Keunang". Los Angeles Times. May 10, 2018. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  14. ^ "LAPD body cam footage from Sgt. Chand Syed shows 2015 fatal shooting of a homeless man". YouTube. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  15. ^ "Settlement Reached for $1.95 Million in Charly "Africa" Keunang Case, Two Officers Found Liable". Hadsell Stormer Renick & Dai LLP. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  16. ^ "Excessive force verdict in Skid Row killing leads to $1.9M settlement". Southern California Public Radio (10 May 2018). Retrieved 5 November 2019.