Protests began last weekend and continued early this week in Los Angeles after police shot and killed a black teenager. 18-year-old Carnell Snell Jr. was fatally shot near 107th Street and Western Avenue in South Los Angeles on Saturday. According to the LAPD, Snell was armed with a gun; however local residents have questioned this account of events.
Police noticed a car with paper plates around 1 p.m. on Saturday and attempted to pull the car over. When the driver of the vehicle refused to stop, an officer-led pursuit ensued. The car stopped near 106th Street, and two passengers ran in different directions. Snell's younger sister, Trenell, was outside her home when she saw her brother running from police. She heard gunfire and dropped to the ground, and when she got up her brother was on the ground. Other relatives of Snell's said the teen was killed outside his house.
On Monday, LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck defended the shooting of Carnell Snell Jr. According to Beck, after officers chased Snell for several hundred feet, Snell took a gun from his waistband and turned to face the pursuing officers. Police recovered a fully loaded semi-automatic gun with one round in the chamber next to Snell, who died at the scene.
Protesters gathered outside Beck's news conference, calling the police department's version of the facts into question. The officers involved were not wearing body cameras, but surveillance video from a nearby business showed Snell was armed, according to Beck; however, the department will not allow the footage to be released until all evidence has been collected and analyzed.
According to court records, Snell was on probation after pleading no contest to one felony count of assault. Snell was the third black man in a five-day period to die at the hands of police in Southern California. Local activists have condemned the shooting, and are calling for better training for police officers to avoid more deaths.