A southern California police department is facing national backlash after footage showed that officers fatally shot a double amputee and wheelchair user who appeared to be hobbling away on the ground before he was killed, the Guardian reports. Anthony Lowe, 36, was killed by officers in Huntington Park, a city in southern Los Angeles County, last Thursday. Cellphone footage captured part of the incident, showing Lowe on a sidewalk next to his wheelchair appearing to try to flee as two officers approach him with weapons drawn. More police cars arrived as the officers followed Lowe, who seemed to be limping away, but the video did not capture the shooting. Lowe’s family is calling for officers to be terminated and face murder charges. “I’m heartbroken, and filled with anger and rage,” said Tatiana Jackson, his younger sister. “I just can’t understand why they would do that to someone in a wheelchair. I want somebody to explain to me what was the reason that you had to gun down a guy who has no legs.”
Lowe was a father of two and one of eight siblings in a tight-knit family He had been struggling after he had to have both legs amputated, his family said. The circumstances preceding the killing are unclear, and officials have faced scrutiny as their narrative has appeared to shift. The Huntington Park police department said officers were responding to reports of a stabbing allegedly committed by someone in a wheelchair. They encountered Lowe, who was in a wheelchair and who they believed was the suspect. The department claimed that officers attempted to detain him, alleging he ignored commands and “threatened to advance or throw the knife at the officers”, although the limited witness footage did not capture that. The department said that officers “deployed two separate Tasers in an attempt to subdue the suspect”, but when “the Tasers were ineffective”, they shot him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.