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Protests in Los Angeles over police shooting continue into second night

Demonstrators staged a second night of protests following the fatal shooting of Carnell Snell Jr., a young black man.

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Los Angeles Police officers speak to neighbors and members of the community gathered around a makeshift memorial outside a residence on Sunday. Officers shot and killed Carnell Snell Jr. in south Los Angeles on Saturday at the end of a car chase, sparking a protest by several dozen people angered by another fatal police shooting of a black man.

Damian Dovarganes/AP

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Demonstrators protesting the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old black man in Los Angeles took to the streets for the second night in a row in Sunday, stopping traffic in one South Los Angeles intersection. 

Several dozen people, some holding "Black Lives Matter" signs, came out to protest the death of Carnell Snell Jr., who police say was shot after running from a car that was suspected to be stolen. Officers say a gun was found where he died. 

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Mr. Snell's death is the latest in a series that have set off protests across the country. Some, like Snell, have been shot while attempting to flee the police, causing some states and cities to rethink whether practices such as "stop and frisk" are unconstitutional, and whether black men who run from the police can be assumed guilty. 

In the case of Snell, the chase began when officers attempted to pull over a car with paper license plates, suspecting that it was stolen. The driver refused to stop, but the passenger, Snell, got out of the car and ran into the back of a house, where he was shot. 

Local television station KTLA reported that Snell had been running away with his hands raised in the air when he was shot, according to witness accounts.

One of Snell's neighbors told the Associated Press that the shooting had spurred outrage in the black community "because of the way police handle our people." 

"If he was any other race than black, he may have had another chance," the neighbor, Christine Conley, said. 

The shooting comes weeks after a ruling from the highest court in Massachusetts that black men who flee voluntary encounters with police should not be considered more suspicious than those who comply with stops, as their motivation for fleeing may be fear. 

As The Christian Science Monitor's Josh Kenworthy reported:

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For some black men in Boston, being stopped by police is a regular feature of their lives. While not arguing against a fine for speeding or any other legitimate offense, they think police officers are too quick to judge by appearance, and often feel they are treated disrespectfully without justification when stopped. 

In a bid to stem such encounters, the Massachusetts court unanimously ruled Tuesday that just because a police officer has a “hunch” that a black person is acting out of culpability, his or her decision to walk away from police could likely be “totally unrelated to consciousness of guilt.” 

Nevertheless, as Shea Cronin, a professor of criminal justice at Boston University, pointed out at the time, the ruling does not apply to all encounters, just voluntary ones. 

"The decision is pretty narrow," Dr. Cronin told the Monitor. "It’s not necessarily saying anybody who runs from the police isn’t subject to reasonable suspicion."

This report contains material from the Associated Press.