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5.22.2008

fatal police shooting in long beach

Over the weekend, a terminally ill, mentally disabled man was shot and killed by Long Beach police during an altercation with officers: Anger follows fatal shooting by police in Long Beach. Roketi Su'e, 46, was killed on Saturday night as he was walking home from a birthday party. Officers say he was acting erratically and got in a physical altercation with an officer, while witnesses say Su'e was shot as he lay shirtless and unarmed on the sidewalk:
Two officers responded to the area Saturday night on reports of a man behaving erratically, according to Nancy Pratt of the Long Beach Police Department.

A struggle ensued when police tried to arrest the man, she said. Pratt said officers used a Taser on the man and struck him with batons, but he appeared unfazed, causing officers to think he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, she said.

When Su'e tried to take one of the batons away from the officers, they shot him multiple times in the upper torso, she said.
Family members say Su'e was unarmed, had a bipolar disorder, was dying of lung cancer, and had argued with his girlfriend, which is why he was upset. A witness said that officers shot the man six times. Six times!

The fatal shooting has angered a lot of people in the largely Samoan American enclave, and the community wants answers. Su'e's family says it plans to sue the Police Department: Long Beach man's family to sue police over his death.