Family of Double Amputee Said Police 'Murdered' Him - Then the Footage Came Out
A man who was a double amputee was shot and killed by police in California at the end of January, now his family is accusing officers of “murder.” But the newly released video seems to argue against the accusations.
On Jan. 26, the Huntington Park police were called when witnesses said Anthony Lowe, a double amputee, used a 12-inch butcher knife to stab a man. When police arrived, Lowe remained combative and threatened officers with the blade.
After ordering him to drop the knife and even tasing him, officers eventually shot the 36-year-old Lowe after he would not comply. Lowe, who his family said lost both legs recently in an accident in Texas, died at the scene.
The family has been highly critical of the shooting, claiming that Lowe was no threat and calling the actions of the officers a case of “murder.”
“Let’s call it what it is, it’s a straight murder,” family attorney Christian Contreras said, according to KABC-TV. “A disabled man, double amputee, murdered by Huntington Park Police Department officers.”
“You could tell he was in fear for his life,” added Ebonique Simon, the mother of Lowe’s son. “He had no legs. It could have been handled any other way.”
The department released a statement insisting the Lowe was an armed threat and had already stabbed one person.
But another family attorney, Austin Love, claimed the department’s characterization of the threat Lowe posed was absurd. “Is it really a question that a double amputee, who’s hobbling on his legs, away from the officers, not near a single person, is a real threat to someone?” he said.
Initially, the family also criticized the police for holding back the video. But on Monday, the video was released and it revealed actions that make it hard to support the charge that the police “murdered” Lowe.
In a separate report on Monday, KABC-TV added that the video released by the Huntington Park Police Dept. also included surveillance video taken from a nearby gas station. That video showed Lowe having jumped out of his wheelchair and hobbling after a man who was walking away from him. It then showed Lowe stabbing the man from behind in the back.
The stabbing victim then stumbled out into the street among the busy street traffic.
Officers did not say if the two men had any altercation before the stabbing. But the video was clear that Lowe attacked the man from behind without warning.
Department officials went on to say that officers were on the scene only minutes later whereupon Lowe threatened them with the knife.
Police video also showed that officers told Lowe to drop the knife multiple times before the fatal shooting. He was also tased twice, but refused to drop the knife and obey police commands to calm down. The video also showed officers approaching Lowe, but flinching away when he raises his weapon. Officers were clearly afraid he would stab them.
“I fully recognize the need for answers and the impulse to rush to judgment, but we must allow peace and patience to guide us through this process,” Huntington Park Police Chief Cosme Lozano said.
The Lowe family’s attorneys, though, maintain that officers could have reacted differently and could have spared Lowe’s life.
“They could have pulled their shields out of their vehicles if they were worried about getting hit by the knife,” the attorney said. “So many other options than executing him on the streets.”
The incident is reminiscent of a case in Seattle where police confronted an agitated double amputee in August. No one was shot in that incident.
The officers involved in Lowe’s shooting have been placed on paid leave and an investigation into the incident is being led by the LA County Sheriff’s department.
The video seems clear that the officers did not arrive on the scene with a premeditated decision to shoot Lowe down. They repeatedly ordered him to drop his weapon — one with which he had already harmed one person — and even tried non-lethal means to take him down by tasing him twice.
The whole incident is sad, granted. It is obvious that Lowe was in some mental distress. But making the whole thing worse by accusing police of “murder” simply isn’t a fair reading of the situation.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.