Takar Smith's family continues calls for justice at his funeral
LOS ANGELES - The family of Takar Smith continued its calls for justice for his death at the hands of Los Angeles Police Department officers as they laid him to rest Saturday.
"There was no reason for the police to shoot him like that," a demonstrator at Smith's funeral said of the Jan. 2 shooting. On that day, Takar Smith's estranged wife Shameka Smith called LAPD to report that Takar Smith had violated a restraining order when he showed up to her apartment.
Released recordings of the 911 call Shameka Smith placed showed she told the dispatcher that Takar Smith suffered from mental illness.
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LAPD released body camera footage of the incident at the Westlake home. The video showed Takar Smith using a chair and bike defensively, eventually reaching for a kitchen knife.
Officers used pepper spray and multiple Tasers to get control. Smith dropped the knife but when he went to pick it up again officered fired.
Takar Smith's family said he was on his knees when officers opened fire. They're asking why mental health officers were not sent to the scene that day.
"He needed help," his mother said. "He didn't need to be shot at."
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Activists have expressed similar concerns.
"They had options to use other means to apprehend him," said Cliff Smith of the Coalition for Community Control Over Police. "He was on his knees as the video clearly shows at the time they shot live rounds and killed him. And there just can be no justification for that use of lethal force."
LAPD Chief Michel Moore, who was recently appointed to a second five-year term, has pledged there will be a full investigation into Takar Smith's death, as well as into the deaths of two other men killed by LAPD in the first days of the new year — Keenan Anderson and Oscar Leon Sanchez, both on Jan. 3.
The LAPD's investigation is currently ongoing.