$20 Million Lawsuit Filed in Homeless Man’s Skid Row Shooting Death by LAPD Officer

Charly Keunang, known as "Africa" among friends, died after being shot multiple times by LAPD officers March 1.

The family of a homeless man who was fatally shot on Skid Row by Los Angeles police earlier this year filed a $20 million lawsuit against the city and department Wednesday.

Charly Keunang, known as "Africa" among friends, was killed March 1 during a struggle with police who approached the 43-year-old to investigate a robbery report. Police said Keunang allegedly tried to reach for an officer's holstered gun, prompting police to shoot him. 

Cellphone video of the deadly confrontation was captured by a witness and posted to Facebook. The video garnered millions of views and sparked national outrage. According to Keunang's family's attorney, police body cameras, whose images have not been released to the public, would show the moments leading up to fatal shooting and cast doubt on the LAPD's claims the decedent grabbed an officer's weapon.

"The body cams plus the autopsy report show that this was a killing created by highly aggressive officers operating outside the bounds of proper police practice," Dan Stormer said.

According to an autopsy report, Keunang was shot six times, four of the shots were fatal and two were "contact gunshot wounds" that left gunpowder residue on his skin.

Activist demanded answers about the fatal shooting from the city's police commission during a meeting and protestors marched to LAPD's headquarters in downtown LA.

Keunang's family wants the lawsuit to force the LAPD to change its practices on how it handles lethal force.

"I cannot find the words to explain how I feel," his sister, Line Foming said. No one should have to die like that, that's why I seek justice for Charly."

The lawsuit also names police Chief Charlie Beck and the three officers who fired the six bullets that hit Keunang. The LAPD declined to comment when contacted by NBC4.

Keunang, a Cameroon national, arrived in the United States 15 years ago using the stolen identity of a French citizen. He served 15 years in federal prison under his assumed name for bank robbery before being paroled in April 2013.

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