LOS ANGELES (AP) — Activists on Sunday called on police to publicly name the officers involved in the deadly shooting of an 18-year-old black man near his home and to conduct a quick and transparent probe.
“We don’t want to see a cover-up. We don’t want to see a whitewash,” Earl Ofari Hutchinson said after meeting with the family of Carnell Snell Jr. “We have a family that’s grieving. We have a community that’s grieving.”
Hutchinson, who founded of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, said Snell’s family refused to further discuss Saturday’s shooting but planned to issue a statement soon.
Police on Sunday said a handgun was found at the scene where Snell died following a chase. Other details of the shooting have not been made public but rumors have swept the South Los Angeles community.
“He was just at my house, and we got a phone call that said the police shot him five times in the back,” Snell’s mother, Monique Morgan, said Saturday night.
“I think people are so outraged because of the way police handle our people,” Christine Conley, a next-door neighbor of Snell’s for 10 years, said Sunday. “If he was any other race than black, he may have had another chance…if they would have arrested and taken him to jail, I wouldn’t be talking to you.”
The pursuit began around 1 p.m. Saturday when officers tried to pull over a car bearing paper plates, suspecting the vehicle may have been stolen, and the driver refused to stop, police Sgt. Barry Montgomery said. The driver and passenger jumped out and police ran after them.
The passenger ran in back of a house, where he was shot. The driver escaped.
As of Sunday, investigators had not said whether the car was indeed stolen.
Snell’s family lives in another house in the front of the property. A back gate there was riddled with six bullet holes.
Trenell Snell, 17, said she was outside with friends when she saw her older brother running from police. She said she started running too, and hit the ground when she heard at least four gunshots. When she got up, her brother was on the ground, handcuffed, she said.
“At the end of the day, the cops came and shot my brother,” she told the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/2dhp96Q). “Killed my brother.”
There was a small protest over the shooting Saturday night at the home of Mayor Eric Garcetti in the Hancock Park area. It was peaceful. However, at some point the mayor’s house was hit with eggs. A crew was called to clean them up Sunday.
In Snell’s neighborhood of small stucco houses and well-kept lawns, a makeshift shrine of flowers and candles had grown in front of the property where he died.
There was little information about Snell. Conley described the boy she knew as CJ as cheerful and polite, someone who liked to dress nicely and didn’t sport gang clothing or tattoos. He was always respectful to police, she added.
She knew he had been in jail but not the details. A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department website indicated that Snell was arrested in January and released from jail on probation in June. It did not indicate the nature of the offense.
“”He’s never given me any problems. He’s always been respectful and kind,” Conley said. “He was always happy.”
Snell was the third black man in five days to die in confrontations with police in Southern California. Last Tuesday, Alfred Olango was fatally shot by an officer in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon, triggering three days of angry and sometimes violent protests. Olango was shot when he took a “shooting stance” and pointed at an officer with what turned out to be a 4-inch vape pen — an electronic cigarette device.
On Friday, Reginald Thomas died after being shot with a Taser by police in Pasadena. He was armed with a knife and his wife described him as mentally ill. His brother told a 911 dispatcher that Thomas was high and had a history of violence.