A white police officer has shot dead another black man in the United States leading to renewed tension in the country.
Police say the deceased was in possession of a handgun which he had dropped during a violent altercation in Los Angeles.
The incident has triggered fresh outrage as tensions soar over racism and police brutality.
The man whose name was given as 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee by local media, was riding his bicycle when Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies tried to stop him for an unspecified vehicle code violation on Monday afternoon.
According to the police,, Kizze fled on foot and punched a deputy in the face when officers caught up with him as he dropped some items of clothing he was carrying.
“The deputies noticed that inside the clothing items that he dropped was a black semi-automatic handgun, at which time a deputy-involved shooting occurred,” Lieutenant Brandon Dean told reporters.
It was not clear if the man was reaching for the gun when he was shot. Dean said officials had yet to interview the deputies involved.
“So, he did not have the gun in his hand, it had already dropped to the ground, so when he was actually shot, he was unarmed at that point?” a reporter asked during the televised press conference.
“I don’t know that,” Dean replied, adding later, “If this individual was reaching for a semi-automatic handgun, I would suggest … that’s probably why deadly force was employed.”
The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
Up to 100 people gathered at the scene demanding justice in the hours after the shooting, according to local media.
“What’s the use of having the prison system if you all are just going to kill us,” one woman told a CBS News reporter through tears. “What are you all here for? Who are you protecting?”
The latest killing came as US President Donald Trump was headed for Kenosha, Wisconsin Tuesday, where police shot black father Jacob Blake seven times in the back on August 23, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
Blake’s shooting by a white officer ignited fresh grief and protests three months after the killing of George Floyd, who suffocated beneath the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis in May, cracking open the most widespread civil unrest in the US since the 1960s.
The demonstrations in Kenosha have deteriorated repeatedly into violence as armed white vigilantes face off against protesters, culminating in the killing of two people. A white 17-year-old Trump supporter has been arrested and charged with the murders.
Wisconsin’s governor Tony Evers has said Trump is not welcome in Kenosha amid fears the president is fanning the violence as he shifts national debate from his handling of the coronavirus pandemic to “law and order” ahead of the November 3 election.