The family of a double amputee who was gunned down by police in Southern California took initial action Thursday to sue the city that employs the officers.
Christian Contreras, an attorney representing the family of Anthony Lowe, said the city must release all footage they have of the deadly encounter and name the officers involved.
"Let’s call it what it is. It’s a straight murder," Contreras told reporters. "A disabled man, double amputee, murdered by the police department officers, and we’re here making demands. We’re not making requests. We’re making demands."
Lowe, a Black man who lost his legs last year and had not yet received prosthetics, stabbed a 46-year-old man on Jan. 26, police said, before officers used a stun gun and fatally shot him.
Grainy cellphone video posted on social media appears to show Lowe, whose legs were amputated at the knees, leaving the wheelchair behind and scrambling along the sidewalk, followed by officers with guns drawn.
Ebonique Simon, the mother of Lowe’s 15-year-old son, insisted Lowe did not pose a significant threat and should not have been shot.
"I just feel like they could have did something else," she said. "You can tell he was in fear for his life. He had no legs. It could have been handled any other way."
Simon said their son is struggling to grasp the horrific reality of Lowe's death.
"My son, he broke down yesterday, asking God can he just get one more time, one more time, with his dad," she said.
Contreras said he filed a notice of claim against the city of Huntington Park, a city of 53,000 just south of downtown Los Angeles, in a mandated precursor to any lawsuit. The city clerk of Huntington Park confirmed that action was filed on Thursday morning.
Representatives for the mayor and city manager could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday afternoon.
Huntington Park police said the man was armed with a foot-long butcher knife when officers encountered him in the 1900 block of Slauson Avenue.
The man allegedly ignored "verbal commands and threatened to advance or throw the knife at officers," according to a police statement.
"Officers deployed two separate Tasers in an attempt to subdue the suspect, but the Tasers were ineffective," the statement continued. "The suspect continued to threaten officers with the butcher knife, resulting in an officer-involved shooting."