Dorothy Lowe wept as she stood outside the Huntington Park Police Department on Monday, struggling at times to speak before a bank of television cameras.
It had been four days since police officers fatally shot her son, Anthony, a 36-year-old double amputee who was trying to run away on what remained of his legs.
“I just want the truth,” Dorothy Lowe said. “Nothing but the truth and justice for my son. My son was murdered.”
At the news conference Monday, family members and friends of Anthony Lowe, along with community advocates, demanded that the Huntington Park police officers who killed him be prosecuted.
“Anthony was brutally executed by Huntington Park police officers last Thursday in an attack that was vicious and cowardly,” said Cliff Smith, an organizer with the Coalition for Community Control Over the Police.
Smith said community advocates and Lowe’s family “don’t have confidence in” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating the shooting along with the L.A. County district attorney’s office. He said he hoped state prosecutors also got involved.
“You could see that Anthony was loved,” he said. “Anthony has a strong family, and we’re here to stand with his family to fight for justice.”
Huntington Park police officers shot and killed Lowe on Thursday. A grainy cellphone video, posted to Twitter on Saturday, shows Lowe — who appears to have just dismounted from a nearby wheelchair — attempting to run from officers while holding a long-bladed knife.
The 23-second video ended after two police vehicles pulled into frame. No footage of Lowe being shot has been released.
Video adds to questions about police shooting of a double amputee holding a knife
As they do every week during football season, the Lowe family gathered Sunday morning to watch the NFL games on two big flat screens in the South Los Angeles home of the family matriarch.
Lowe’s older sister, Yatoya Toy, said Anthony’s legs were amputated last year after an altercation with law enforcement in Texas. The family, she said, also has questions about that incident.
Lowe, a Black man, was killed at a time of increased scrutiny of police brutality and violence after a string of high-profile incidents, including the beating death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, another Black man, by Memphis police this month.
“It’s sad, really sad how the police are getting away with killing our African American people,” said Ellakenyada Gorum, Lowe’s cousin. “He was in a wheelchair. What more could he do?”
At the news conference Monday, Lowe’s son and daughter, both teenagers, stood with their heads bowed, covering their faces with photographs of their father.
Ebonique Simon, the mother of Anthony’s son, said, “I just want justice and the truth for my son.”
Family members described Anthony as his mother’s “baby” and the “favorite” of his nieces, nephews and cousins. He lived in South Los Angeles but loved visiting Huntington Park, his “comfort zone,” largely because of his many Latino friends, his mother said.
“Anthony was a good person,” Dorothy Lowe said. “He was always there for his family. He’s our protector.”
She said her grandchildren were distraught: “They miss their daddy.”
She said she worried video of her son’s killing would go viral and lead to destructive protests.
“I don’t want our city to be torn down,” she said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s homicide unit is investigating Lowe’s shooting, as is typical for shootings involving Huntington Park Police Department officers, according to the unit’s Lt. Hugo Reynaga.
Reynaga said Sunday that the Sheriff’s Department had obtained video of Lowe’s shooting from a nearby business but that it did not intend to release the recording. Huntington Park police officers, he said, do not wear body cameras.
The shooting took place Thursday in the 1900 block of Slauson Avenue, according to the Sheriff’s Department. Reynaga said two officers fired at Lowe “around 10 times.”
Reynaga said the names of the two officers who shot at Lowe would be released in the coming days. The officers, he said, are on leave “for a few days” while they undergo a psychiatric evaluation, and they will be assigned administrative duties until the command staff approves them to go back to fieldwork.
Asked why it was necessary to shoot Lowe, Reynaga noted that officers repeatedly used a Taser “to no effect” before opening fire.
“He tried to run away, and every time he turned around and did the motion like he was gonna throw the knife at him, they Tased him,” he said. “They were trying to give this guy the less-lethal taser shock. And because it was ineffective, they had to go to something that was more effective.”
In a statement Monday, the Huntington Park Police Department said officers responded at 3:40 p.m. Thursday to a call about a stabbing in the 2400 block of Slauson Avenue.
Officers found a man “who suffered a life-threatening stab wound resulting in a collapsed lung and internal bleeding,” according to the statement. The victim, whose name has not been released, told officers he was stabbed by a man in a wheelchair.
“The suspect dismounted the wheelchair, ran to the victim without provocation, and stabbed him in the side of the chest with a … butcher knife,” the statement reads. “The suspect then ran back to the wheelchair and fled the scene in the wheelchair.”
The stabbing victim was in critical condition, according to the statement.
The Sheriff’s Department identified the man in the wheelchair as Lowe.
Huntington Park police said that, after the stabbing, Lowe ignored officers’ verbal commands and “threatened to advance or throw the knife at the officers.”
Officers used two Tasers before Lowe was shot, the Police Department said.