By Annabel Martin
A 48-year-old black man killed on January 24 by two LAPD officers was later identified as Earl Rhodes. The victim, who officers claimed was acting aggressively, was beaten to the ground and Tasered in front of his home near East 107th Street and South Clovis Avenue in Green Meadows.
Neighbors put a “disturbance” call into the LAPD at 8:15 p.m., after overhearing Rhodes arguing loudly with family members. The Los Angeles Times reported that the officers, on their way to the scene, got word that he might have mental health problems…
… and was refusing to take his medications. Read the original LA Weekly report here.
CBS LA spoke with LAPD Officer Norma Eisenman, who said that, after police arrived, “the man refused police orders and became violent.” She said “officers fired non-lethal bean bag rounds but couldn't subdue the man, who was 5-foot-11 and weighed 240 pounds.”
Police told the Times that Rhodes even tried to steal a shotgun and another firearm from one of the officers. So, as an attempt to stop Rhodes from hurting them, both officers fired at close range.
Zak Holman of OnScene.tv, who arrived at the crime scene shortly after, told the Weekly that witnesses had seen Rhodes go “out onto the porch to cool off.” They noticed he only got “really upset” when the LAPD officers started “barking orders” at him.
Rhodes' neighbor since childhood told Holman that the Rhodes wasn't mentally ill — “just a very eccentric person.” Holman, who's used to interviewing officers after such incidents, also expressed how strange he found it that no officer or detective would speak with him at the scene.
Detective Robert Solorza of the LAPD's Force Investigation Division says he's still in the process of writing the report on Rhodes' murder, and probably won't be done until August. From there, depending on whether officers' use of force is deemed “in policy” or “out of policy,” the LAPD's commission will make a final ruling.
Note: Due to technical difficulties, the LA Weekly's archive of all homicides within Los Angeles city limits was discontinued near the end of last year. We will be rolling out the 2011 homicides, one by one, until our “Murder was the Case” archive is up to date. Thanks for your patience.