Archive for the LAPD Category
Eyewitness accounts describe harrowing moments of contagious fire and lack of concern for residents. Additionally, eyewitnesses are outraged because LAPD Officers continued to shoot Kenny while he was down and clearly unable to move; and, putting an entire community at risk while doing so. Thus far local media reports have been incomplete and driven largely by LAPD statements. However, eyewitness accounts and physical evidence at the scene of the shooting suggests that there is more here than meets the eye. Stay tuned, we will report the facts as we get them.
This week the City of Los Angeles, really LA taxpayers, paid Officer Earl Wright S1.2 million after a jury (after 4 hours) found that fried chicken and watermelon birthday cakes were indeed RACIST!
LA CAN has witnessed Officer Wright and other officers named in this suit during the course of their duties for years. There are relatively few Black officers in Central, a division that sits squarely in the middle of one of LA’s last African American/Black strongholds. What is clear from the details and outcome of this case is that Central Division is as racist and brutal toward African Americans internally as they are externally.
Based in Downtown LA’s Skid Row community, Central Division sits as if it’s a gun tower on a prison yard. Skid Row is definitely treated as a carceral community, day in and day out, and bearing witness to human and civil rights violations is a daily occurrence. The issues of race and racism are not new in the community and regardless of what the “new and improved” LAPD might tell you. Black folks are catching hell in Central Division, inside and outside of the station.
LA CAN has been on the front-lines fighting against the banishment of poor, mostly Black people in Downtown Los Angeles for more than a decade. Our nationally recognized Community Watch program educates residents on their civil rights, documents police activities in our neighborhood, and intervenes in cases of rights violations by the LAPD and Business Improvement District security guards. Videos taken over the years shows racist and insensitive behavior that is hauntingly, though probably not surprisingly, similar to the issues faced by Officer Wright.
Officer Wright was harassed with photos depicting him as a character in the 70s TV show Sanford and Son. In the news clips below Central Division Officers are caught illegally taking property from skid row residents and dumping it under the 6th Street bridge. Once there, Central Division officers sing the Sanford and Son theme song to summon homeless residents to unload their vehicles and take whatever they want.
Clearly the behavior alleged by Wright is not new and from LAPD’s response to this video — not frowned upon. When we released the footage LAPD’s response was nonchalant and questioned if it was indeed racially charged. Racism inside…racism out side – that pretty much sums it up.
Take a look for yourself.
LA CAN will continue to fight against LAPD’s oppression and racism in Skid Row, South LA, and across the City. LAPD now has $1.2 MORE reasons why they should finally get serious about confronting, preventing and erasing racism. Charlie Beck’s “new and improved” mantra, with the support of people like Connie Rice, simply means a better public relations department – not real change.
Many living within America’s borders assume or believe that human rights violations simply don’t exist. How easily many people turn a blind-eye to those things we experience on a daily basis (hunger, homelessness, economic insecurity, joblessness, etc.) at home and instead point the finger at some far and distant place and condemn the human rights violations happening there.
We are humbled by the United Nations taking the case of General Dogon and the Los Angeles Community Action Network seriously and conducting an investigation. We are appalled that the United States government, the self-proclaimed beacon of democracy, has refused to reply/comply with the investigation. The Los Angeles Police Department and City Attorney have spent considerable resources in their attempts to silence General Dogon, LA CAN, and other organizers and activists – so they surely have the resources to collect information requested by the United Nations and respond in a timely manner.
More and more community organizers and activists in the United States face growing and intensifying surveillance, arrest and other human rights violations when attempting to exercise their constitutional rights and redress their government. Many of the tactics employed by law enforcement harkens back to more sinister times in US history. Remnants of Cointelpro, the Black Codes and Red Squads exist today and attempts are being made to use this as standard operating procedure.
If you are wearing an orange t-shirt bearing the words LOS ANGELES COMMUNITY ACTION NETWORK, the repressive rubber meets the road rather quickly. In an attempt to silence and stop LA CAN’s work, our leadership has been blatantly targeted for a number of years. False arrests, constant civil rights violations, and the spreading of lies have characterized the strategy employed by the state. However, much to their chagrin, it has not proved effective because the influence of the organization continues to grow.
General Dogon’s social change work ethic and consistency has been long recognized by the LAPD. His leadership in the community and ability to connect with a broad array of people has been a chief concern for those wanting poor people to simply shrink away into the night and disappear. LAPD and the City Attorney took a “by any means necessary” approach to squash and silence his courage and leadership before it spread to other poor people and encouraged their participation.
Amidst numerous detentions, arrests, and protracted court battles where General Dogon faced life-sentences for his leadership and organizing, his commitment to the idea of human rights never faltered. This week, he and others throughout the world who have been unjustly targeted will at least receive an open hearing on an international stage, with a reiterated demand for the US Government’s response.
The May/June 2012 Community Connection is NOW AVAILABLE!
Click on the Photo above to read the Community Connection Online.
You can also download a PDF version HERE.
Last week LA CAN organized numerous actions and events across the state that received a lot of media coverage. Here is a quick review of just some of the highlights of a busy and successful week.
Play Fair Farmers Field
On May 16, residents from Downtown LA, Pico-Union, and South LA testified at a public meeting on the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed stadium and Convention Center project. Although the hearing was largely filled with boosters who have direct ties to AEG (the developer of the project), community members spoke powerfully about the potential negative impacts that a stadium might have on the community, including gentrification, increased policing, housing displacement, and increased traffic. Another one of the main issues brought up by residents was the lack of sufficient time – 45 days – that the public had to read and analyze the 10,000 page EIR.
The event was covered by a number of outlets. LA CAN’s Pete White was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying “The current and unrealistic 45-day comment period insists that residents and stakeholders read, digest and analyze nine pages per hour, 24 hours per day, starting the day the EIR was released up until comments are due. This is an unrealistic expectation and raises many due process concerns.”
Also covering the event were KPCC, The OC Register, and the Associated Press. In addition, the Natural Resources Defense Council, who early on backed the stadium project, has come out and said that the stadium EIR failed to fully analyze the increased traffice-related health impacts that the stadium would have on the community. They’ve called on AEG to redraft and recirculate the EIR.
Women’s Day in the Park
Last Friday the Downtown Women’s Action Coalition it’s 11th Annual Women’s Day in the Park. The event was covered by ABC7, Spanish TV networks, as well as local media/blogs, like Blogdowntown.
LA CAN’s Becky Dennison was quoted in the Los Angeles Times last week as saying that the proposed City Hall camping ban is “such a waste of legislative time.” The ban would prohibit sleeping bags, hammocks and bed rolls at City Hall. It is direct response to Occupy LA and in anticipation of the reopening of the City Hall lawn this month. Dennison was specifically speaking to the redundancy of the ordinance since camping is already banned in city parks.
Hunger Action Day
On May 17, members of LA CAN joined over 300 residents from across the state for Hunger Action Day. Hunger Action Day is an annual lobby and advocacy day organized by the California Hunger Action Coalition that provides the opportunity for communities to travel to their State Capitol to push their elected representatives to support and vote for statewide policies that increase food security and nutrition.
Last week Our Weekly published a piece covering LA CAN’s May 10 Action and Vigil to Stop Police Murders which was held in remembrance of LAPD slain community member Dale Garrett.
STOP POLICE MURDERS! THIS Thursday in Memory of the One Year Anniversary of the LAPD Killing of Dale GarrettPosted in anti-violence, civic participation, civil rights, community connection, human & civil rights, LAPD, organizing, politics, press coverage with tags dale garrett, Kendrec McDade, la can, LAPD, skid row, special order 1, special order 11 on May 8, 2012 by Cangress
We the community residents of Downtown Los Angeles will be hosting a vigil to stop the rising numbers of police killings and murders of primarily young black men across the country. We will gather on this specific date to remember the one year anniversary of the fatal police shooting of community member Dale Garrett. From the killing of Garrett last year to the shooting and death of 19 year-old Kendrec McDade in Pasadena last month, officer involved killings are on the rise across the country. We are calling for an immediate stop to this epidemic. We hold this vigil to remember that no matter the police are here to protect us and not kill us. We all have the right to due process under the law and not by the tip of a gun. Join your community to raise our loved ones and lift our voices.
Join us THIS Thursday, May 10 at 12:00pm at the Southwest Corner of 5th and Spring St.
Police Commission Finds that Dale Garrett Shooting Last Year was Not Within Policy – But True Justice for Police Murders is Hard to FindPosted in anti-violence, civil rights, human & civil rights, LAPD, legal, organizing with tags civil rights, downtown los angeles, fight back, human rights, human rights violations, Joel Rubin, la can, LAPD, LAPD abuse, los angeles community action network, police abuse, police murder, skid row on May 7, 2012 by Cangress
Dale Garrett was shot and killed by LAPD in the Skid Row community last year at this time – the anniversary of the police murder is this coming Thursday. LA CAN members and other community members will be holding a vigil in his honor calling for the end of police murders and abuse, and accountability for officers. The vigil will take place on 5th and Spring Streets at noon – PLEASE JOIN US!
Two weeks ago, the Police Commission finally heard the results of the use of force investigation. Dale was actually shot twice in the back. Just as witnesses – many of whom were LA CAN members who came forward to provide testimony – had earlier claimed, the shooting was found to be out of protocol by the Commission – though Chief Beck and the Inspector General found it to be within protocol. The Commissioners found:
“In conclusion, Detective A and B’s failure to follow proper protocols or to operate in a manner consistent with Department tactical training, by having and communicating an operational/tactical plan, to include support personnel, unjustifiably and substantially deviated from approved Department training.”
“In conclusion, the BOPC found Detective A’s lethal use of force to be out of policy.”
Although the Commission took this unusual action to overrule the internal report (they find the large majority of shootings to be justified, though communities know this isn’t true), Chief Beck gets to decide the discipline for these officers. And the LA Times reported recently that Beck has not been strongly disciplining officers for unjustified shootings – otherwise known as police murders.
While LAPD continues to enforce the most minor violations against poor residents in downtown LA - sending people to jail for sitting on the sidewalk – their officers are allowed to commit major violations, even kill people, without any consequence. LA CAN believes criminal charges should be pursued in this case and we will continue to demand police accountability throughout our community – to the policy makers and on the streets. Stay tuned.
Joel Rubin of the LA Times reported on this today:
The public version of the use of force report is here:
Written by Leonardo Vilchis and Becky Dennison, on behalf of the Los Angeles Human Right to Housing Collective (of which LA CAN is a member organization)
As so many reflected on the 1992 civil unrest last week, we heard stories of fundamental change in the LAPD and how conditions have changed so much within the City of LA since then. However, given the experiences in our communities in Downtown, South and East LA, we couldn’t disagree more. The fact that there have been changes does not mean that there have been improvements. Extreme poverty, lack of meaningful employment, a continuously growing housing and homelessness crisis, a deepening economic and social inequality, and continuing police abuse and racial profiling reflect the same conditions that spurred the uprising in 1992. At the same time we are still dealing with the self-righteous arrogance in LAPD that made Daryl Gates famous. Last week the Times reported that Chief Beck was giving only “conditional reprimands” to officers committing major violations, including unjustified police shootings (sound familiar?), causing discord among some Commissioners and the public. Yet, just one week later spurred by the 20-year anniversary, the same media outlets report on the supposed “changed” LAPD.
It is fitting, then, that the public meeting on the future of the Old Rampart Station also happened last week. The Old Rampart Station, a symbol of police abuse and arrogance, has been abandoned for the last 4 years and is a painful reminder of LAPD’s past that is worsened by the abandonment, neglect in and around the property, and a total disregard for the community that surrounds it. When the LA Human Right to Housing Collective chose the Old Rampart Station for its International Human Rights Day actions last December, it was selected as a symbolic representation of much that is wrong in the City of Los Angeles: the site of some of the worst and most pervasive police abuses in LA’s history; an abandoned and blighted City-owned property that could instead be used for human rights promoting purposes; the City’s budget priority of more than 50% of its budget going toward LAPD when housing, libraries, schools, parks, and other human rights programs are seeing devastating cuts; and the list could go on and on. The Housing Collective created a human rights camp that cold weekend in December to call attention to the abandonment and to demonstrate to the City and LAPD that this site should be used for community serving purposes. What is the city’s response? Rampart is planned to be the new headquarters for LAPD’s Metro Division, including SWAT.
There are two problems with the Metro/SWAT proposal. First, the community was unaware of these plans. There was no community input process in deciding what should happen at a space that holds such painful memories of crime and abuse. In fact, the LAPD representative at last week’s public meeting admitted there had been no community involvement, simply stating they weren’t required to do it. Second, what is the message sent by establishing a SWAT training ground in a community that was victimized and abused by the Police? The site will be turned into a militarized zone controlled by the police without providing any community services. The self-righteous arrogance of LAPD and the complicity of the city with its plans ignore the community’s needs and reaffirm the role of the police as an occupying force in Rampart. Certainly nothing has changed, and most definitely we see no improvement. The police plans and policies do not take into consideration community’s needs and desires.
Since January, local residents and other concerned Angelinos have been working to Reclaim Rampart – to ensure that community-serving purposes are included in any plans for the site and that the site is not solely used to house Metro Division, which will not serve the local community. Community members are also demanding transparency and more comprehensive public input as the City moves forward with its plans. The hearing was the first step, but much more work is needed by local residents, City Officials, and other concerned residents to be sure that LAPD is accountable to the community on this infamous site, and fully accountable to our communities across Los Angeles. That will be a change to welcome and a certain improvement for this community.