The LAPD is facing criticism for using a Taser and bean bag rounds on a homeless man in a wheelchair who police claim was swinging a pole at them.
A video released Monday shows LAPD officers firing bean bags and a Taser at a homeless man who the police claim tried to hit them with a pole. The footage of the encounter—which took place on Friday in downtown L.A. near Broadway and 3rd St.—is drawing criticism from Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN), a skid row advocacy group, who argues that officers escalated force against someone who didn't pose a significant threat, according to the L.A. Times. Pete White of LA CAN explains, "It didn't appear that they were seriously worried about their safety. It was easy enough to approach and have a conversation with a man in a wheelchair."
The video of the incident shows ten officers clustered around the man in the wheelchair, identified as 43-year-old Christopher Adam Zareck. The officers are standing roughly five to ten feet from Zareck and shouting between them can be heard. Then, a series of three shots are fired by the officers, while Zareck, still seated in the wheelchair, kicks his legs in the air and screams. The officers then move in and appear to subdue the man further using a Taser. The pole that LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said Zarack swung at the officers cannot be seen in the video. Following the encounter, Zarack was treated at a nearby hospital and arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.