Protests have erupted in Lancaster, Pennsylvania after a police officer fatally shot a 27-year-old man who allegedly ran at him with a knife.
While disclosing this on Sunday September 13, 2020, the police department said in a statement that the officer shot and killed Munoz, who died at the scene.
“The officer fired several shots from his firearm, striking the subject,” the statement reads.
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Lancaster in protests that were sometimes violent, turning the city of about 60,000 people into the latest flashpoint in a summer of civil unrest across the United States over racism and police use of force.
Police fired tear gas early on Monday to disperse the demonstrators.
Police posted a video of Ricardo Munoz chasing the officer down a pavement with a knife.
At a news conference on Monday, Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace called on the governor and state legislators to work together to come up with better protocols for responding to 911 calls involving people who may have mental health issues.
She said the shooting highlighted a broader problem of poverty affecting as many as half of the city’s residents – a predicament exacerbated by budget cuts and the coronavirus pandemic and disproportionately affecting minority communities.
“We must fund housing, social services, and education equitably and adequately in this city,” she said.
“Lancaster, if we care so deeply about loving our neighbour then let’s do it,” she added.
The officer was placed on administrative leave, the mayor’s office said in a statement, calling it “a heartbreaking day for our city”.
The Lancaster police department said it had arrested eight people early on Monday for arson and other crimes, with four of those detained from outside the county.
Some protesters threw bricks at the police station and post office, the police said.
The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office said it was investigating the shooting to determine whether there was a justified use of force.
District Attorney Heather Adams acknowledged the protests in a news release later on Sunday and called for calm.
“We ask that acts of protest remain peaceful as violence and destruction of property will become headlines and serve no purpose for the safety and wellbeing of our citizens and neighborhoods,” Adams stated.
The protests are the latest in a long line of anti-police brutality demonstrations that began in the US in May, following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody.