An unarmed man was shot in the head and critically wounded by Los Angeles police officers on Friday night, after he appeared to be flagging them down for assistance.

A passerby recorded graphic video of the incident from a car, and then posted it on Twitter. The video showed officers turning over the man, who appeared to be unconscious and lying on his face, and handcuffing his hands behind his back as his head bled profusely.

The Los Angeles police department said the man, who was not immediately named, had a towel wrapped around his hand and the two officers believed he was concealing a weapon.

The man reportedly waved over the officers in their patrol car in the quiet Los Feliz area of LA, north-east of Hollywood, at about 6.30pm. The officers got out of their vehicle and one ordered the man to “drop the gun”, LAPD lieutenant John Jenal told local television news on Friday night.

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