Los Angeles police insist on their right to kill

July 4, 2021

From the July-August 2021 issue of News & Letters

Los Angeles—Both the Los Angeles Police Association and Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva are behind the petition to recall progressive LA County District Attorney George Gascon. Gascon defeated DA Jackie Lacey—who the LAPD and Villanueva overwhelmingly supported—in the November 2020 election.

As District Attorney, Jackie Lacey refused to prosecute hundreds of cases of LAPD Police and Sheriff brutality, including murders of unarmed Black and Brown people. Black Lives Matter and their multi-ethnic supporters protested weekly for her removal as DA. She also railroaded hundreds of Black and Brown youth into prison and onto death row, helping the Prison Industrial Complex after Three Strikes and You’re Out passed in 1984.


While Lacey was a prosecutor, she was responsible for moving the trial of the four LAPD police officers, who in 1990 beat Rodney King almost to death, to Simi Valley. There, the all-white jury’s “not guilty” verdict resulted in the April 29, 1992, LA Rebellion that spread throughout the nation.

In 2013, Oscar Grant’s mother speaking out about the murder of her son.

Police brutality and murders have continued in the U.S. as District Attorneys rarely prosecute criminal police. An exception was the Oakland police murder of Oscar Grant, who was handcuffed and face down when police shot him in the back in 2010. The trial was moved to Los Angeles, where his murderer was found guilty of manslaughter, not murder, and released from prison after serving a few months of a maximum 14-year sentence. Both the Departments of Justice and law enforcement in this country have a long history of white supremacist racism.

While BLM-LA has promoted “defund the LA Police Association and LAPD,” LA Mayor Eric Garcetti has pushed a 3% raise for LAPD. Several months ago, the Los Angeles City Council voted to cut LAPD’s budget by $150 million dollars. Erika Smith, a Black woman journalist for the Los Angeles Times, wrote: “More cops would equal more George Floyds. Lawless cops can’t continue to be the norm.”

The major focus of the LAPD and police throughout this country seems to be on criminalizing and killing mostly Black and Brown people. They rarely prevent the rising incidence of mass shootings in schools, theaters, churches, and so many other places where people gather.

Many see the concentration of LAPD police as a war on Black and Brown people. LAPD’s so-called “community policing” is based on a provisional LAPD program that includes a few community people—rather than a community agenda written by progressive Black and Brown activists such as Black Lives Matter and approved by a majority of community residents. Real community policing is very unlikely under today’s profit-making class divisions which include a huge LAPD budget with military weapons and tactics.


One thought on “Los Angeles police insist on their right to kill

  1. The Chicago Police Department is just as bad. Now they are making feeble promises to overhaul its gang member “database,” but is still using it even though it is full of misinformation. Ald. Maria Hadden exclaimed, “CPD has allowed this database to be used in ways that can ruin people’s lives!” Why do the police keep using the database when they know it’s “riddled with systemic errors,” as Ald. Matt Martin summarized the Inspector General’s report? For the same reason it was set up in the first place: not for practical crime-fighting, but to justify the institutional racism of the police department. That’s the same reason that the police go in after the fact to change the locations of where gunshots were supposedly detected by the “ShotSpotter” system, which is concentrated in Black and Latinx neighborhoods.

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