A HOMELESS immigrant from Ghana was shot dead by police in the Madrid district of Villaverde on Friday morning provoking accusations of racism over the killing.

The 44-year-old man, who has been identified only by his initials I.M, was shot several times by police at the doors of a health centre after he reportedly attacked officers with a knife.

Police were called to the scene with reports that a man armed with a large kitchen knife was threatening passers-by at the doors of a health centre in the San Cristobel de los Angeles neighbourhood of the capital.

According to authorities at Policia Nacional headquarters in Madrid, the man charged an officer injuring him with the knife. The policeman then fired a shot at him and when he failed to back away, other officers also fired at him.

The man fell to the ground and despite efforts to revive him, he was declared dead at the scene at 10.30am by Samur medics.

According to a report in online newspaper El Diario the man had four bullet wounds.

Following the shooting a group of local residents, also from Africa, shouted at the police accusing them of racism over killing.

A police source insisted that circumstances of the shooting appeared to follow established protocol – that of officers acting in self-defence using proportionate means against an act of aggression.

 The deceased reportedly had a history of violent attacks on authority including three incidents this year and one last year, according to Europa Press.

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