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Report: Majority Of Latinos Shot By Police Didn't Have Gun, Quarter Were Unarmed

"I've always been surprised that when there are Latino deaths at the hands of police officers, that the groundswell of concern, of anger, of frustration doesn't rise to the level that it does in some other shootings," attorney Arnoldo Casillas told the Guardian.

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A Guardian analysis published Tuesday found that 67 Latinos were killed by police in the U.S. so far this year, and a majority of them didn't have a firearm and a quarter were unarmed.

The report focused on the shooting of Amilcar Perez-Lopez, a 20-year-old who was shot dead by two plain-clothed San Francisco police officers in February. It also examined why the killings of Latinos at the hands of law enforcement have not fueled the same kind of outrage as the deaths of Eric Garner, the unarmed black man killed by police in New York City and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

"I've always been surprised that when there are Latino deaths at the hands of police officers, that the groundswell of concern, of anger, of frustration doesn't rise to the level that it does in some other shootings," Arnoldo Casillas, lead attorney for Perez-Lopez's family, told the Guardian.

The report followed a recent analysis looking at the 464 people killed by police in the U.S. this year.

San Francisco police said Perez-Lopez was attempting to steal a bike and chased his victim down the street carrying a knife. He then allegedly lunged toward officers Eric Reboli and Craig Tiffe with a knife over his head and turned with a swiping motion before he was shot.

Eyewitnesses and forensic evidence compiled by Perez-Lopez's attorneys contradict police statements.

A 20-year-old identified only as Maria said there was some distance between Perez-Lopez and police before they shot him. One of his roommates said police jumped on Perez-Lopez from behind.

"He didn't realize they were police. When they tried to grab him, he got away. They told him to drop the weapon. He dropped the weapon on the sidewalk. After that, they shot at him," The roommate said in audio obtained by the Guardian.

A private autopsy commissioned by attorneys indicated that Perez-Lopez was shot six times from behind, four times in the back, once to the head and once in the right arm. The lawyers, representing his family who are in Guatemala, said the autopsy indicates he was running away when he was shot.

The San Francisco medical examiner's office said it had carried out an official autopsy in March, but that the case was still pending, with no cause of death identified.

Adolfo Flores is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Adolfo Flores at adolfo.flores@buzzfeed.com.

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