HUNTINGTON PARK, Calif. – The family of a double amputee fatally shot by Huntington Park police officers filed a claim Thursday against the city on behalf of the man’s 15-year-old son.
The claim is the first step needed to file a lawsuit against the city for wrongful death and civil rights violations.
Officers shot and killed Anthony Lowe on Jan. 26 after responding to a stabbing call. When Lowe was approached near the scene of the call, Lowe — who had both of his legs amputated and used a wheelchair — was allegedly armed with a 12-inch long butcher knife, according to the Huntington Park Police Department.
Police contend 36-year-old Lowe ignored commands and “threatened to advance or throw the knife,” and officers used Tasers to try and subdue him but failed, HPPD said in a statement.
“The suspect continued to threaten officers with the butcher knife, resulting in an officer-involved shooting,” HPPD said. It was not immediately clear how many officers were present or shot the suspect.
Lowe, who lived in the neighborhood, was struck by gunfire in the upper torso and pronounced dead on the scene, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in an initial statement.
Calls to HPPD and the Huntington Park city attorney’s office were not immediately answered. The Lowe family attorney was also unresponsive to calls.
A blurred 23-second cell phone video, posted to Twitter, appears to show Lowe out of his wheelchair and attempting to hobble away from officers on the stumps of his legs while holding a knife. The shooting is not shown.
At a press conference Thursday held by the Coalition for Community Control Over the Police, Lowe’s family called for the prosecution of the officers who shot Lowe, telling reporters they cannot understand how a disabled suspect posed enough of a threat to warrant lethal force.
Cliff Smith, an organizer with the coalition, said the L.A. County district attorney’s office “must criminally prosecute the officers involved. There’s just no justification for shooting this man.”
Smith said a demonstration is planned for noon Friday in front of the downtown Hall of Justice. Lowe’s family members, their attorney, and relatives of other people shot and killed by Los Angeles law enforcement are expected to attend.
“These shootings are systemic in law enforcement generally,” Smith said.
Huntington Park police, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office are investigating the shooting, and the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, the HPPD statement said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna appeared on a local radio podcast Feb. 1 where he was asked would his department be able to conduct a thorough investigation taking into consideration his deputies killed five people last month.
“Yes,” said Luna.
Police said they responded to the stabbing call at 3:40 p.m. on Jan. 26 in the 2400 block of Slauson Avenue. Upon their arrival, a man suffering a life-threatening stab wound told officers he was stabbed by a man in a wheelchair, according to the LASD.
Lowe’s family members said the decedent’s legs were amputated last year after an altercation with law enforcement in Texas.
2UrbanGirls contributed to this report.