Several dozen people gathered Saturday around a small memorial erected on the sidewalk near the Venice boardwalk.
Amid the candles, stuffed animals and flowers was a photograph of 29-year-old Brendon Glenn, a homeless man who was fatally shot by a Los Angeles police officer Tuesday night.
As tourists and surfers looked on, Glenn’s acquaintances recounted their friend’s superior skateboarding skills, his love for his dog, Dozer, and what they described as his sweet disposition.
“I saw him every day,” said Corey Gowen, 27, who is also homeless. “We talked, smoked weed together. Nothing negative ever came out of his mouth.”
As friends shared stories about Glenn’s taste for whisky and his love of the New York Yankees, protesters passed out posters that featured the faces of other young African American men who have been killed by police in recent years. Among them were Ezell Ford, a mentally ill 25-year-old who was killed by police in South L.A., and Eric Garner, a New York man who died after police put him in a chokehold.
Diego Massimo, an activist from South Los Angeles, urged those present to “think about what is at the root of all this."
“Why do these murders keep happening?” he asked.
Across the street, a few Los Angeles Police Department bicycle patrol officers looked on but kept their distance.
One officer said the department wanted to respect the demonstrators' right to "peaceful protest."
The mood at Saturday's informal memorial service was much less hostile than at a town hall meeting Thursday, when local residents and activists screamed at police and accused them of murder.
Police say the deadly encounter began late Tuesday night when officers responded to a call about a homeless man who was “harassing customers” on a stretch of Windward Avenue near the boardwalk.
The officers who responded spoke briefly to Glenn, and later saw him "physically struggling" with a bouncer outside a bar, police said. The officers approached Glenn and tried to detain him, leading to a "physical altercation" that ended with the shooting, police said.
The incident was captured by a security camera on a nearby building. The footage has not been released, but this week LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told reporters that he had reviewed the footage and was "very concerned about the shooting." Beck said he did not see “the supporting evidence that I normally would” to justify an officer shooting an unarmed person.
The two officers involved in the incident have been removed from the field. The shooting will be reviewed by the civilian Police Commission, its inspector general and the district attorney's office.
On Saturday, several people said the shooting highlighted the need for additional documentation of altercations involving police.
“Every time I see a cop harassing people I pull out my phone,” Gowen said referring to the device’s camera. “That’s your greatest weapon.”