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Settlement reached in LA shooting of homeless Cameroonian

The Detroit News | Los Angeles – A settlement of $1.9 million was reached Thursday in a civil lawsuit stemming from the fatal police shooting of a homeless black man on Skid Row in Los Angeles three years ago, attorneys said.

A jury earlier in the day found two police officers liable for financial damages in the shooting death of Charly “Africa” Keunang, a transient from Cameroon.

Charley Leundeu Keunang
Jurors were set to begin the damages phase of the trial when the settlement was announced. The agreement, which requires City Council approval, resolves all fees, costs and claims and closes any future litigation over Keunang’s death, City News Service reported. The settlement will go to Keunang’s family if approved.

“There’s no amount of money that’s going to bring back the loved one,” U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. said at the conclusion of the federal civil trial.

The eight-member jury unanimously determined that Officer Francisco Martinez deprived Keunang of his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable force and that Sgt. Chand Syed breached his duty as a supervisor to intervene during the fatal encounter.

Prosecutors in 2016 declined to file charges against the officers after it was determined the shooting justified because Keunang grabbed a rookie officer’s gun during a struggle March 1, 2015.

The family of Charly Keunang,from left: his sister, Line Foming; mother, Heleine Tchayou; and brother-in-law, Charles Foming. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
The Los Angeles Police Department issued a statement saying that it stands by the findings of the LAPD, the city Police Commission and the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office that “the uses of force by our officers were consistent with the law and Department policy.”

LAPD officers “make every effort to safely take suspects into custody without the use of force,” the statement said. “In this situation, force was necessary because of the violent behavior of the suspect.”

Officers were responding to reports that Keunang, 43, a Cameroon national, had threatened another man living on the street in the section of the city teeming with homeless people.

Video of the shooting by a bystander was viewed millions of times online and prompted protests in the city and drew comparisons with the deaths of other black men killed by officers in the U.S.

A lawyer representing Keunang’s family in the lawsuit disputed that the homeless man ever had hold of an officer’s gun.

The Police Commission cleared officers of the shooting, though it found one officer’s tactics violated policy. It did not publicly reveal what policy was violated.

Keunang’s family sued the city of Los Angeles and four officers, seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages on allegations of wrongful death, negligence and civil rights violations.

The jury cleared a third defendant, Officer Daniel Torres, while former Officer Joshua Volasgis – who was named as a defendant – had been expected to face proceedings in state court, but the settlement effectively ends that case, said Deputy City Attorney Christian R. Bojorquez.

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19 comments

  1. His family must be very happy afterall. This guy used to be homeless, and his family couldn’t provide him with shelter, but they seem quite quite ready now to cash-in $1,5 million. What a family!!!

    • You read my mind. And it is more than likely that they will start fighting over that money very soon 🙂

      • Beti people and money! This is not Treasury money to steal. Group of greedy thieves destroying a rich country.

  2. it’s too small the money

  3. The money is small and keep in mind that after attorney fees deducted from it, there won’t be much left. This was an ongoing issue for over two years. Think about how much the attorneys will deduct from that settlement for providing their work for over two years. Then again, the family will get aleast something which is better than nothing.

    • ignoranr…the settlement always make sure all the fees are paid..so this money goes directly to the famuly…..stop judging this famuly i know of peoples in DC that refuse to stay with their relatives and stay with hynkies in baltimore..so stop judging when you dont know the full story

  4. LRC terrorists murder INNOCENT Southern Cameroonians in cold blood, burn down their houses, rape and maim them. However, the evil Junta in Etoudi does NOT apologise let alone pay compensation.

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

    THE WAR CONTINUES until 2035

    • So…when are you putting on your military uniform and join the guerrilla, so you can not only talk the talk but also walk the walk?

      • Who told you we haven’t?

      • My duty is in INFORMATION WARFARE. I do not, therefore, have to go to ground zero.

        You citizens of LRC still think that Southern Cameroonians are joking that they want to SEPARATE from Dictator Biya’s so-called “one and indivisible ” LRC. You will soon have a rude awakening

        THE WAR CONTINUES until 2035

        • Keep on with your sweet dreams.

        • Dreamers are people like Dictator Biya who thinks that he could resolve the Anglophone Question by translating the OHADA text or manu militari.
          Believe me or not, the entity you and Biya call “one and indivisible” LRC is history. SC IS GONE. IT IS GAME OVER

          THE WAR CONTINUES UNTIL 2035

  5. my comments adm.Maybe you are one of the relatives

  6. The State of Ca should not give even one dollar to the so-called family members in the US. He was homeless and they didn’t care but now these greedy idiots are smiling. Let the funds be sent to Cameroon to help the folks there!

    • Bullocks! This man regularly visited his sister before things deteriorated so badly because he delved into narcotics. You stupid Africans always see something wrong in gainful compensation. Do you know how many white people receive anonymous calls from banks to claim the inheritance of distant relatives some based in very distant continents? This is the same mentality your leaders carry as they loot and stash public money overseas.

    • You think you or any Cameroon relatives care for him more than his mother? What a load of BS.

  7. The family abandoned their own, only to be united because of dirty money.
    Very poor habits that humans exibit.

  8. I saw thi coming. When this guy was shot, it was claimed that the reason for his being homeless was a mental case patient. Having diagnosed as such, one would have thought the family could seek government assistance in having him placed in a mental hospital. Nothing was done until he got killed. But every one rose up and cried foul and called him a loving family member. If he is of yaounde fabric, of course na chop broke pot. The money will soon run out, and they will start mal treating another member until he/she runs loco and gets shot, then the wheels of the legal system start the flow of crocodile tears. Its a traditional thing, and has been tested time and time over. That’s why Yaoundé is dysfunctional.
    …,

  9. The money will probably be paid in instalments – over 25 to 50 years. But they can require a lump sum which will significantly reduce the original amount,less all taxes deducted. A lump sum can be less than half the original amount! – taxes excluded.