Here's the account from FOX 11 reporter Phil Shuman:
Our plan was to document the reality of the day-to-day struggles on Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles.
In the aftermath of Sunday's fatal shooting of a homeless man by the LAPD during a robbery call, I wanted to try to give our viewers a sense of the challenges that everyone, especially the police, deal with every day in that area.
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I, a cameraman, and a producer were intentionally low-key; we even used a consumer-type video camera smaller than the professional cameras we normally carry around. Totally, by coincidence, we bumped into LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who was walking with a beat officer there to get his own sense of the conditions.
Shortly after that, things turned bad in a hurry. We were in front of the Midnight Mission on 6th street, not even recording anything in particular at that moment, when out of nowhere a man grabbed our photographer's camera, twisting it violently and breaking it. We were trying to calm him down as the crowd started yelling at us. He backed off, then grabbed the camera again, twisting off the viewfinder and destroying it.
Our cameraman called 911 and at least four LAPD cars showed up. A small group of officers confronted the man, still in front of the Mission, and essentially tackled him to the ground.
They say, I couldn't see this from where I was standing, but they say he grabbed one of the officer's holsters. They used a "contact" Taser on him two or three times. He was finally subdued and taken into custody.
Three officers suffered minor injuries in the struggle.I'm told he'll be booked on charges of felony vandalism, assault, and resisting arrest. We don't know who he is or what his background is at this point, but we're told he "hangs around" outside the mission. This was a real eye-opener. This was a very similar encounter between police and a suspect that ended in that shooting Sunday.
Fortunately, it had a different, safer ending, but it was a vivid example of the volatile nature of some people here and how quickly the routine can turn dangerous.
Watch Phil Shuman's full report Wednesday at 5 p.m. on Studio 11 LA.
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