The union that represents Los Angeles police on Tuesday blamed extreme agitators and even communists for the unrest that plagued the Westlake neighborhood following an officer's shooting of a man with a knife over the Labor Day weekend. Protesters lit trash cans on fire, threw rocks and bottles at police and shut down West Sixth Street into Tuesday morning as they expressed displeasure with the fatal clash. Some claimed that the victim did not speak English and did not understand officers' orders to drop the weapon.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League issued a statement on its blog Tuesday that reads, in part:
Various community "activists," including the Revolutionary Communist Party, are attempting to gin this shooting up into a controversy, agitating a small handful of others to conduct "protests" of this shooting. The pathetic attempt to excuse the armed advance on the responding officers by claiming the man "did not speak English" only highlights the inanity of the "protest." For the record, the officers gave him commands in English and Spanish, not that it matters because getting drunk and threatening bystanders and then LAPD officers with a knife is dangerous and self-destructive in any language.
The union defended the officer's actions on Sunday afternoon, in which 37-year-old Manuel Jamines, a Guatemalan construction who had three children, was fatally shot after he allegedly threatened bystanders and officers with a knife.
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Bicycle cops were responding to reports of an "irrational," armed man, and police described Jamines as a known drunk who was intoxicated at the time of the clash.
Some witnesses claimed the man was shot in the head without much warning, and without being addressed in the only language he apparently understood -- Spanish. The fatal confrontation had many in the immigrant-dominated community up in arms.
But police dispute those basic assertions. The union blames Jamines for his downfall and argues that cops are not paid to be stabbed.
" ... Any person, whether or not they speak English, or who has had too much to drink, should understand that threatening officers with a knife will result in a swift and appropriate response by police, and if necessary, it will include the use of deadly force," the LAPPL states.