Skip to Content

Families of Charly ‘Africa’ Keunang and Alex Jimenez — Killed by LAPD in 2015 — To Get Million-Dollar City Council Settlements

6:55 PM PDT on August 21, 2018

[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved two multi-million dollar settlements in cases involving police killings. The death of Charly “Africa” Keunang, a homeless man killed by LAPD in March 2015 on Skid Row, will cost the city $1.95 million. The brutal beating and suffocation by LAPD of Alex Jimenez in April 2015 in South Los Angeles will cost it $1.45 million.

L.A. City Council originally approved both settlements in a near unanimous vote with Councilmember Joe Buscaino, a former officer, initially the only dissenting vote. The votes prompted an outburst in public comment from a resident named John Walsh who chastised the LAPD and the city for the pay-outs.

“Everytime the LAPD beats the shit out of a woman, it costs us $2 million,” Walsh said from the podium addressing the council. “But does the new captain give a damn about it? No. Do you give a damn about it? No. Just throw $2 millon at Heleine Tchayou.”

Tchayou is the mother of the man known as Africa who was killed on Skid Row in an incident that went viral when video of the shooting was posted on Facebook.

The death of the man then unidentified set off days of protests led by Black Lives Matter and gained national attention prompting Keunang’s mother to see a photo of her son on the nightly news. LAPD had argued that Keunang acted violently when he tried to fight arresting officers.

Joshua Volasgis, the LAPD officer who shouted, “He’s got my gun!” in the melee, was later proven wrong by an LAPD investigation which found no fingerprints or DNA belonging to Keunang on any of his equipment.

In the Jimenez case, court documents say police tased Jimenez multiple times and held him down with a knee on his throat, despite repeated pleas by family members to let him breathe. A police officer ignored the pleas causing Jimenez to “vomit, turn blue, and ultimately die.” A witness who filmed the incident said in the case that LAPD officers erased the footage once they found out they were being recorded.

Police photo of Charly Keunang.

The Skid Row case cast a pall over Charlie Beck’s tenure as police chief. In 2016, the Los Angeles Police Commission cleared the officers involved in the shooting. At that time Beck, blamed the current political climate and a series of high profile police shootings for the protests.

"This one was obviously made more difficult by the times we live in and by the outcome — which was sad,” Beck told the L.A. Times. “But I also recognize how hard police officers' jobs are. And they have a right to defend themselves."

Beck left the office of chief on June 27. His successor, Chief Michel “Mike” Moore, has in his first weeks in office faced similar high profile shootings,  including a case of a woman shot by LAPD at a homeless outreach center at a Van Nuys church and the accidental killing of a hostage at a Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake.

The City Council voted Tuesday without discussion. The vote was brought up again toward the end of the meeting after reconsideration. In the second vote of both settlements, Councilmember Mitchell Englander, a republican, joined Buscaino in the dissent. The council had previously debated both cases with the city attorney present in closed sessions on Aug. 13.

RELATED: LAPD Releases Video: Knife-Wielding Man at Van Nuys Church Grabs Woman as Hostage, Officers Shoot Both

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from L.A. TACO

Help Us Fill Our Editorial Trompo! Become a Member of L.A. TACO Now!

Memberships start at $5.95 and help us stay alive in this wild journalism landscape. For the price of a few tacos a month, you can help keep L.A.'s only taco, news, and culture site stay spinning and churning out features about the real Los Angeles. We are 40% to our goal!

February 28, 2024

Burglar Steals Safe From East Hollywood Mexican Restaurant, Runs Up $80,000 In Damages and Stolen Gear

The burglar was wearing a white hoodie and spray-painted the lens of the security cameras. Insurance will only cover $20,000. The owner of El Zarape Melrose says he doesn’t know if this was personal or just a delinquent act by a stranger: “I’m sad, I don’t know how I’m going to do it.”

February 27, 2024

Baldwin Park Rapper Lefty Gunplay is Playin’ for Keeps

With witty lyrics, Holladay experiments with storytelling of his times in prison and on the gritty streets of the San Gabriel Valley. He is one of the biggest names in the new L.A. rap scene and the conversation about being one of this generation's biggest Latino rappers. 

February 27, 2024

Pioneering Ethical Meat Butcher Jered Standing Dies at 44

On February 22, Standing, the 44-year-old owner of one L.A.’s most popular butcher shops, Standing’s Butchery, died, according to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner.

February 26, 2024

Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg Blasted Through 38 Songs In One Hour In Echo Park

Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg started their hour-long set with “Do You Wanna Dance” and ebbed and flowed through classics from the early-to-middle Ramones era, including their later hits, such as “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.” and even an extremely heartfelt rendition of Joey Ramone’s masterpiece, “What a Wonderful World.”

February 23, 2024
See all posts