An unarmed homeless white man was shot and killed by deputies in Castaic, California in early August, now a group of black civil rights leaders are stepping up to question the shooting.
“We can’t only be advocates when black people are killed by police unjustly,” said Najee Ali, founder of Project Islamic Hope.
According to the LA Weekly, Ali is organizing a coalition of civil rights groups, including Project Islamic Hope, the National Action Network and the L.A. Urban Policy Roundtable. They plan to call on state Attorney General Kamala Harris to launch an investigation of shooting that took place on August 2.
“They shot this homeless man for nothing,” Ali said, referring to witness accounts of the shooting. “He was unarmed and they killed him. I found out he was white later on. It doesn’t matter to me.”
Witnesses told reporters that the man, 51-year-old William Bowers, was “shot without warning” as he rode a bicycle, or perhaps immediately after he got off a bike, the LA Weekly reports.
“According to investigators, deputies attempted to stop the suspect after they recognized him from previous interactions and knew he was on probation for a narcotic violation,” Deputy Mike Barraza said.
“When the suspect fled on foot, deputies followed him and eventually made contact with him. It was at this time that a deputy-involved shooting occurred.”
Bowers was declared dead at the scene.
Ali said the shooting is a prime example of why the L.A. Sheriff’s Department needs to catch up with the Los Angeles Police Department when it comes to equipping its cops with body cameras.