Man killed in Skid Row officer-involved shooting identified

ByJanet Kinnaman, Darsha Philips, Robert Holguin and Laura Montenegro KABC logo
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Man killed in Skid Row officer-involved shooting identified
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The man shot dead by Los Angeles police in Skid Row has been identified as Charley Robinet, Eyewitness News has learned.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The man shot dead by Los Angeles police in Skid Row has been identified as Charley Saturmin Robinet, Eyewitness News has learned.

According to the FBI, the 39-year-old was convicted in 2000 for a bank robbery in Thousand Oaks. Robinet allegedly held up a Wells Fargo branch to steal money to pay for acting classes at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, according to the Associated Press.

He was released from prison on May 12, 2014. Under the terms of his release, Robinet was required to provide reports to his probation officer at the beginning of each month, Deputy U.S. Marshal Matthew Cordova said.

U.S. marshals say a federal warrant was issued for his arrest on Jan. 9 after Robinet, who carried a French passport, failed to check in with his probation officer in November, December and January.

The confrontation that ended in Robinet's death took place Sunday when police officers responded to a robbery call in the 500 block of San Pedro Street.

Police said they contacted the suspect and an altercation occurred. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the man was shot after he grabbed an officer's holstered pistol during a scuffle.

Monday, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said two of the responding officers were wearing body cameras at the time of the incident. Beck, however, says the footage will not be released until the investigation is completed.

Witnesses to the shooting say Robinet, known as "Africa," was mentally ill and had been living on the streets for several months.

A 2005 court document notes that a state psychiatrist examined the suspect and determined that he had a "mental disorder or defect" but it was unclear if he received treatment.

RAW VIDEO: LAPD officers shoot, kill man on Skid Row

The deadly confrontation was videotaped by passerby Anthony Blackburn and has sparked a firestorm on social media with many saying the incident was a case of excessive force and that officers murdered a mentally ill man.

Protesters gather outside the LAPD headquarters on Tuesday, March 3, 2015.

Protesters gather outside the LAPD headquarters on Tuesday, March 3, 2015.

On Tuesday, about 200 people marched from the scene of the shooting to LAPD headquarters. The protest marked another intense day following the shooting.

"This is modern day lynchings. We're not calling them killings no more. We're calling them lynchings," one demonstrator shouted through a bullhorn.

LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said a sergeant for the department was targeted Monday night, when someone tried to release his home address as an intimidation tactic.

Protesters said deadly force should not have been used in the incident and are demanding that the officers involved in the fatal shooting be prosecuted.

"Whether or not he reached for the gun, is it relevant? He didn't have the gun," said one demonstrator.

Inside LAPD headquarters, dozens of demonstrators lashed out at the department and its handling of the shooting during the weekly L.A. Police Commission meeting.

"Your intention was to kill this man. That's what this office's intention was and your intention is to cover it up," one man shouted.

Police Commission President Steve Soboroff assured the crowd that the shooting would be investigated thoroughly.

"I would encourage people not to rush to judgment. It isn't fair to anyone to rush to judgment," Soboroff said. "Let's not point fingers. Let's join hands," he added, drawing a few laughs and jeers from the crowd.

After the meeting, Beck responded to his department's critics.

"This is a limited group and this is not a universal opinion in the city of Los Angeles," Beck said.

Meanwhile, the LAPD and the mayor are asking the community to remain peaceful and not draw any conclusions until the investigation is complete.

"It's understandable that people are upset. It's a tragic situation when anybody loses their life in a situation like this. It's tragic for everybody involved, and I guarantee you that no officer in the Los Angeles Police Department wants to go out there and get involved in a shooting like this," Smith said.

ABC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.