An investigation is underway after Los Angeles police officers deployed non-lethal weapons on a knife-wielding man in a downtown Los Angeles restaurant in late February, the agency announced Saturday.
Kenneth Sylvas, a 68-year-old L.A. resident, was hospitalized for injuries to his hand following the confrontation at a business on Fifth Street and Broadway around noon on Feb. 26, according to LAPD.
Police released videos from the encounter, including body camera footage of the woman who reported the incident to authorities.
The woman said she was about to eat at the restaurant when a man holding a knife threatened her.
“He said, ‘Shut up or I’m going to slice your throat,'” she tells an officer. LAPD described the weapon as a 4-inch knife.
Soon, several police officers are seen outside the restaurant with weapons drawn, repeatedly asking Sylvas to drop his weapon.
“You drop the knife now… or you’re going to be hit with a rubber bullet, and it’s going to hurt,” an officer is heard saying.
Cellphone video from a civilian inside the eatery shows the man sitting down with a knife in one hand and holding up a chair with the other, apparently shielding himself.
“You’re in my country man. I put my life for this… Wait ’til my unit comes, we’re gonna kill your a–, man. ” Sylvas says.
At some point, he tells the officers that he had a gun.
Police reported firing three rounds of rubber bullets from a 40 mm device and two rounds from a bean bag shotgun before entering the restaurant and tackling Sylvas to the ground.
On Feb. 28, the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office filed one count of criminal threat and two counts of assisting arrest against Sylvas, police said. He’s being held on $120,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on April 29, county inmate records show.
Sylvas previously has been arrested and convicted for making criminal threats, according to LAPD. He’s also had 11 convictions for being drunk in public, disturbing the peace and driving on a suspended license, the agency said.
The officers’ use of force in the February incident remains under investigation, LAPD said.