SHOT DEAD: Charly Keundeu Keunang
A HOMELESS man shot dead by police in Los Angeles has been named as Cameroonian national, Charly Keundeu Keunang following a mix-up over his identity.
Keunang was previously identified as French national Charley Saturin Robinet, but it appears his initial identity had been stolen.
It is believed the acting hopeful assumed the identity in the 1990s when he was issued a French passport under the false name.
He then served 15 years in prison for a bank robbery in which he allegedly pistol-whipped a clerk. Together with an accomplice and getaway car driver, the trio attempted to make off with $33,500 (£22,000) in a bid to pay for acting classes at the Beverly Hills Playhouse.
On his release from prison, it was the intention of U.S immigration to return him to Cameroon, an effort that failed when the country never responded to requests.
After he was released to a halfway house in May 2014, probation officials lost contact with him within six months.
The 43-year-old, known locally as ‘Africa’, was shot dead by officers responding to a robbery on Skid Row – a notorious area for the homeless – on March 1.
The altercation was captured on footage by a bystander showing Kenuang swinging punches at four police officers.
Witness Dennis Horne, 29, said he had been fighting with someone else in his tent before officers arrived. When Kenuang refused to comply with a police order to emerge, officers used a Taser to subdue him but he "continued fighting and resisting".
"At some point in there, a struggle over over one of the officer's weapons occurred," Smith told the LA Times. "At that point an officer-involved shooting happened."
Peter Nunez, a former US attorney in San Diego who is chairman of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington DC, said the case pointed to multiple failures by government.
He criticised France for not being more diligent in investigating the man’s background before issuing a passport and US authorities for not realising he was a “fraud” before the end of his prison term and then not putting more effort into finding him once he disappeared.
“Shame on all of them,” Nunez, whose group advocates for stricter immigration policies and enforcement, said.
The incident is the latest in a series of fatal police shootings around the US that have sparked widespread protests.