Home » Double amputee killed by Southern California police had mental health crisis, mother says

Double amputee killed by Southern California police had mental health crisis, mother says

Huntington Park police killed Anthony Lowe on Jan. 26 after allegedly stabbing a passerby with a knife.

LOS ANGELES — A double amputee who was armed with a knife and suspected of having stabbed a passerby had experienced a mental crisis hours before Southern California police fatally shot him 11 times last month, his mother said in an exclusive interview.

Dorothy Lowe said her son, Anthony Lowe, awoke on the morning of Jan. 26 “agitated and frustrated” at the loss of both his legs, which were amputated last year. He was scheduled to receive his prosthetic legs Monday, but he was experiencing more depressive episodes that caused her to worry he might try to hurt himself.

“That morning I felt something,” she said. “He woke up a bit off, and I asked him if he was OK, and he said: ‘Yeah, I just need some air.’ I offered to take him out, but he wanted to go out alone.” 

Dorothy Lowe said that she called the police around 10 a.m. and that responding officers spent about 30 minutes talking to Anthony in her driveway. One of the officers, whom she did not identify, assured her that Anthony was depressed because of his legs and just needed some fresh air.

“I never knew what they said to him, but he came back emotional,” Dorothy said of her son. “Then he wheeled off, and I didn’t see him again.” 

Huntington Park police declined to comment, citing a pending investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. A spokesman for the sheriff’s department did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

On Monday, Huntington Park police released audio and video of the moments leading to Lowe’s death, including video of the stabbing that led to the encounter, a 911 call from the stabbing victim and related police radio traffic.

“First and foremost, I wish to extend my condolences to the family of Anthony Lowe. I empathize with their grief and understand their demand for information, answers and justice,” Police Chief Cosme Lozano told reporters. “I also understand the local and national outcry for information, transparency and accountability.”

Anthony Lowe.
Anthony Lowe.Courtesy Ebonique Simon

In the first security video, which includes no audio, Lowe sits in a wheelchair outside a Shell gas station in Huntington Park, a city of 53,000 south of downtown Los Angeles. The video shows an unidentified man crossing the street toward Lowe, who appears to briefly follow the passerby and suddenly lunge at him from behind.

The unidentified man limps out of view while Lowe rolls away in his wheelchair.

In a separate 911 call, the man, who has been identified only as Ramiro, tells an operator that he had been stabbed in the heart by someone without feet.

In the second video, recorded at a nearby location, Lowe is seen a few blocks away from the gas station in a confrontation with police. An officer appears to flip him out of his wheelchair and onto the sidewalk. Lowe lifts himself onto his lower limbs and begins to scramble away. Police walk after Lowe, who turns toward them and motions over his head as he holds a large knife. Police continue to follow him and then shoot him. He crumbles to the ground before the video cuts out.

In a previous statement, police said that officers first tried to subdue Lowe with a Taser but that he ignored “verbal commands and threatened to advance or throw the knife at officers.”

His death sparked outrage throughout the Los Angeles region and called officers’ use of force against a disabled person into question. Several protests and marches have been held since Lowe died on Jan. 26.

“I felt good there’s other people that care, that they see some wrong in this, because this was wrong,” said Ebonique Simon, the mother of Lowe’s 15-year-old son.

The officers who shot him have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the sheriff’s investigation.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office will ultimately decide whether to prosecute them.

“This matter is currently being investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and has not been presented to our Office for review,” the district attorney’s office said in an emailed statement. “We cannot control the speed of the Sheriff’s investigation but in light of the release of the video footage today, we are hopeful that it will move swiftly. We understand and share the public’s concern over the killing of Anthony Lowe.”

Annee Della Donna, an attorney who is representing several of Lowe’s relatives, said police should be held accountable for acting forcibly against a disabled person in the throes of depression.

“There was absolutely no reason to shoot a double amputee in the back 11 times who was hobbling away from officers,” Della Donna said. “Both the officers and the public were not at threat. He was a handicapped person suffering from a mental crisis.”

Source: NBC News



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