Los Angeles, CA — Project Islamic Hope, a group of mostly African-American civil rights leaders, are rallying after an unarmed white man was recently shot by police officers in Los Angeles County. The protesters are questioning the deputy’s shooting of the 51-year old man, who is homeless, because they say that it’s the right thing to do.
“We can’t only be advocates when Black people are killed by police unjustly,” says Najee Ali, founder of Project Islamic Hope. Via his organization, Ali is organizing a coalition of civil rights groups, which also include the National Action Network and the L.A. Urban Policy Roundtable. All of them are calling on state Attorney General Kamala Harris to launch an investigation of the shooting.
According to at least one witness, the homeless man, William Bowers, was shot around 9pm without warning as he was just getting off his bicycle.
Ali comments, “They shot this homeless man for nothing. He was unarmed and they killed him. I found out he was white later on. It doesn’t matter to me.”
But police say there is more to the story. They reportedly attempted to stop Bowers after they recognized him from previous interactions, and knew he was on probation for a narcotic violation. When he reportedly started to run, deputies followed him and eventually made contact with him. It was apparently at this time that the shooting occurred.
Bowers, who was struck by bullets in his upper body, was declared dead at the scene. Meanwhile, a Sheriff’s Department review and an inquiry by the District Attorney’s Office have already begun.