Jeff Sharlet at GQ reveals a particularly damning detail arising from his reporting on a March L.A. police shooting of an unarmed man named Charly "Africa" Keunang on the streets of downtown L.A. who they had already wrestled to the ground:
Two of the six bullets that killed Charly entered his body through what are called "contact gunshot wounds"—which means the muzzle of the officer's gun was pressed directly against Charly's body…
There's a moment in the body-cam video when it appears to me that Officer Francisco Martinez has his hand on Charly's torso—Charly is on his back after having been wrestled down and tased—with his gun pointed at the body. I didn't include that detail in my story because I couldn't be absolutely certain. We still can't be sure Officer Martinez's hand is holding Charly down, but now we can be certain: He pressed his gun into the chest of an unarmed man who was lying on his back and pulled the trigger.
Gunshot wounds #2 and #3, reads the report—the shots are listed arbitrarily—are described as "penetrating, fatal." One bullet entered above Charly's right nipple, the other close to the center of his chest. "Yellow gunpowder is present on the skin" in both cases; "soot is present in the wound." Three examiners, including the chief medical examiner-coroner, inspected these two wounds in particular, and the three examiners concurred: "Range of fire: This is a contact gunshot wound." Not "point-blank," the distance at which you can't miss, which is as much as several feet;contact. The gun pressed into the body, the bullets traveling directly from the barrel into the flesh, no distance in between….
Officer Volasgis said—incorrectly, of that we must be clear—"He has my gun." He says that he was straddling Charly, and that Charly only let go of his gun after he'd been shot; but the body-cam video, on which we cannot see Charly reach for the gun, shows Officer Volasgis is already on his way to standing at the moment the first shot is fired, his holstered gun beyond Charly's reach. Officer Martinez pushed his 40-caliber Glock 35 directly into Charly's body—hard muzzle pressing down into the flesh—and fired.
That is: Officer Francisco Martinez pressed his gun into the chest of an unarmed man and shot him through the heart.
It took five months for the L.A. coroner to reveal this final, awful fact. The investigation is "ongoing," according to the LAPD's local paper, theL.A. Times….
This Huffington Post article has more details from an earlier Sharlet story and an interview with him about the police interaction with Keunang that preceeding the video below, in which an attempt to talk to Keunang about a complaint against him quickly led to tasering, then to his murder.
Some citizen video of the incident: