Archive for the organizing Category
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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.
Message to the City of Los Angeles: Protect Our Health, Clean Our Streets, Don’t Destroy Our Personal PropertyPosted in civic participation, civil rights, legal, organizing with tags Department of Public Health, health, health code violations, Honorable Philip S. Gutierrez, human rights, la can, LAPD, skid row injunction on June 12, 2012 by Cangress
The City of Los Angeles continues to play a dangerous game of “legal chicken” with the health of Skid Row residents. Over a number of years, Los Angeles has removed trash receptacles, portable toilets and just about anything that could provide a bit of humane comfort to those marginally housed. The LAPD simultaneously employed a strong-arm approach — taking and destroying items they deemed were “items of comfort” and insisting that those things make it easier for people to live on the streets. They forget to add, however, that shelters, transitional housing, and permanent supportive housing is maxed out and literally there is no room at the inn.
Unfortunately this is not a new occurrence in Los Angeles. Dating back to the 80′s Los Angeles has been engaged in the practice of taking personal possessions, destroying them and winding up in court as a result. Each time the court has reinforced Constitutional protections and has given Los Angeles clear instructions on how to enforce issues related to health and safety concerns, without illegally taking personal property. The injunction issued by The Honorable Philip S. Gutierrez is no different.
Los Angeles’ response to the recent injunction has been mean spirited and misguided, namely the outright refusal to clean streets and pick-up trash. Community residents have long cleaned Skid Row streets in the absence of consistent cleaning and trash collection. OG’s in Service have long enlisted the support of residents, arming them with colorfully painted trash cans and brooms, in hopes of supplementing the City’s infrequent collection. Residents forced to live on the street also clean their areas and place debris in the reach of skip loaders in the event they actually show up.
But these days they rarely show up. That is until the Department of Public Health showed up and cited the City of Los Angeles for numerous health code violations.
On Monday, June 4th, LA CAN concluded its 7-Day siege at the Headquarters of the Central City Association with marches, rallying cries and a clear message: “CCA, YOUR COPS WON’T SCARE US AWAY!”
Over the past decade, the CCA, the power business lobby in Downtown LA, has been one of the strongest advocates for increased policing and the criminalization of homelessness and poverty downtown. This has made them one of the major foes of poor and homeless residents who have been fighting to preserve their right to exist in a community that many have called home long before the lofts and art galleries that now line Spring and Main.
This most recent action was planned and executed by LA CAN, Occupy LA, and Occupy the Hood L.A. in response to CCA’s successful push to get LAPD to add 50 additional officers to downtown. This is on top of the over 100 uniformed and undercover cops that came to Skid Row in 2006 as part of the Safer Cities Initiative, which was backed heavily by the CCA.
For 7 straight days and nights, over 50 folks camped out in from the the CCA offices located at 626Wilshire Blvd. In the mornings, the groups rallied, passed out fliers to people on their way to work, and maintained a continual visual presence that let CCA know that residents of downtown will not stand idly by as big business and the LAPD attempts to remove their civil and human rights.
For more photos of the action, you can view a slideshow HERE.
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.