LOS ANGELES (AP) — The death of a double amputee wielding a large knife who was shot by police in Huntington Park, California, sparked a national protest against the use of force against a disabled person.

Police say Anthony Lowe, a black man who lost both legs last year and had not yet received prosthetics, stabbed a person last Thursday before they used a taser and was shot about 10 times in the upper body. .

Lowe’s family questioned why it was necessary to kill a man who needed a wheelchair to get around.

“I want truth and justice, because if Anthony had been shot by someone else, as a disabled person, he would now be in jail for murder,” said Ebonique Simon, the mother of Lowe’s 15-year-old son. “They would not be on vacation with pay.”

Anthony Lowe.Courtesy of Ebonique Simón

Lt. Hugo Reynaga of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide unit, which usually investigates officer shootings involving Huntington Park police, said the stabbing victim was a 46-year-old man who is in stable condition at a hospital. awaiting surgery. Huntington Park police are preparing a report on the incident, Reynaga said Wednesday.

Huntington Park police declined to comment on Lowe’s death or say what happened before the encounter because the shooting is under investigation.

The officers involved in the Lowe’s death, who have not been publicly identified, have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, Huntington Park police said in a statement.

Lowe’s relatives said they have received inconsistent information since learning of his death. Police told the family they assumed Lowe was homeless, but that he had been living with his mother after losing both legs, the family said. They were also told Lowe charged police with a knife, but a witness statement did not appear to support that, Simon said.

«Everyone has seen that video now, and that’s not what happened,» he said. “I don’t even want my son to answer his phone. I don’t want him to see the videos.»

Grainy cell phone video shared on Twitter It shows Lowe, whose legs were amputated at the knee, leaving his wheelchair behind and crawling down the sidewalk, followed by officers with their guns drawn. The shooting is not seen in the video, which does not show what led up to the encounter.

Huntington Park police said in a statement that officers responded to a report of a stabbing victim on the afternoon of January 26. The victim, who suffered a collapsed lung and internal bleeding, said he was attacked by a black man in a wheelchair. the police said.

“The suspect got out of his wheelchair, ran up to the victim without provocation, and stabbed him in the side of the chest with a 12-inch meat cleaver,” police said in the statement. «The suspect then ran to the wheelchair and fled the scene in the wheelchair.»

Officers later found Lowe nearby with a large knife and ignoring their orders, the statement said. He «threatened to advance or throw the knife» at police, who deployed two Tasers in an attempt to subdue him, according to the statement. When that didn’t work, Lowe was shot and killed on the sidewalk, he said.

His family was not notified until the next morning, relatives said, even though Lowe was carrying identification with his mother’s address on it.

Ed Obayashi, a national law enforcement expert who specializes in use-of-force investigations, who saw the video on social media, said that to justify a shooting, officers must show they were under immediate threat and considered reasonable alternatives, including the use of a weapon. Taser.

«But here we see an individual who, by definition, appears to be physically unable to resist officers,» he said. Even if he is armed with a knife, his mobility is severely restricted.

He is an amputee. He appears to be at a distinct physical disadvantage, which reduces the apparent threat to the officers.»

Lowe’s older sister, Yatoya Toy, said her brother was afraid of law enforcement and likely ran away in fear, as did Keenan Anderson, a black man who yelled, «They’re calling me George Floyd!» during an altercation with Los Angeles police officers last month.

“The murder of George Floyd really affected him,” Toy said of her brother. “All this police brutality is the reason he ran. He feared for his life. He was terrified”.

Anderson died after being dazed six times following a traffic incident in Venice Beach. He died on January 3, just hours before Los Angeles police shot and killed Oscar León Sánchez, who was experiencing a mental health crisis, his relatives said.

Both the Anderson and Sanchez families have filed lawsuits against the city of Los Angeles, which has 45 days to respond and has declined to comment on the matter. Lowe’s family says they intend to do the same against the city of Huntington Park and its police department.

Family members described Lowe as a loving father and brother who never missed his son’s football games and once enjoyed dancing.

He was the third of eight children and lived with his mother after he lost both legs last year in an incident involving Texas police, relatives said. They said they never learned the details of the encounter, in what city it happened or what led Lowe’s to lose its legs.

He was scheduled to pick up his dentures the following Monday.

“I don’t know how the police could give any excuse to feel threatened by a double amputee in a wheelchair,” said Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter-LA. «It’s disgusting. It just shows you that it seems to be open season for blacks.»