The Stop LAPD Spying Coalition is a community group rooted in the Skid Row community on Tongva/Gabrielino land, stolen territory known as Los Angeles. Over the past decade, we have been working to build power to abolish LAPD surveillance. This report grew out of that organizing and examines the relationships of policing and surveillance to displacement, gentrification, and real estate development. We study those relationships with a focus on the process that has always bound policing and capitalism together: colonization. We often hear that police are an occupying army in our communities. Throughout the history of imperialism and colonization, occupying forces have used surveillance to monitor and contain populations they deem threatening, all for the purpose of maintaining their violent rule.
By Wes Woods and Brenda Gazzar for Los Angeles Daily News - The civilian Los Angeles Police Commission on Tuesday approved a one-year pilot program for the use of drones by police in certain situations, despite significant concerns voiced by the public. The program was approved by a 3-1 vote after commissioners considered guidelines and took public comment. Steve Soboroff, president of the commission, said before his vote the issue wasn’t about drones. “The issue is a universal distrust and categorical distrust of the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department,” said Soboroff, shouting above the crowd. “And I have a general trust and respect for the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department, and I will vote for this policy.” Soboroff’s words came after commissioner Cynthia McClain-Hill said she was opposed to the “difficult” issue. “I am not satisfied that this department has done what it should do and needs to do in order to build the trust that is required to support the implementation of this technology,” McClain-Hill said. Meanwhile, commissioner Shane Murphy Goldsmith did not attend the meeting for reasons unclear. Many in attendance voiced their opposition to the program, and loud chants of “Shame on you!” broke out following the decision while four people were detained and issued citations. Afterward, some people in the audience briefly blocked Main Street and 1st Street outside of the meeting to protest of the decision.
By Andrew Emett for Nation of Change - Captured on video beating an apprehended suspect unconscious, an LAPD officer will avoid serving any jail time after prosecutors agreed to community service and probation instead. Although a Los Angeles police official described the unprovoked assault as “horrific,” the LAPD and District Attorney’s office continue to suppress the footage from the public. Shortly after noon on October 16, 2014, Clinton Alford Jr. was riding his bicycle home in South Los Angeles when a car pulled up behind him with the driver ordering him to stop.
By Daniel Ross in Yes! Magazine - Just over a year ago, Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old mentally ill black man, was shot and killed by two LAPD officers in South Los Angeles. Ford was unarmed, though the officers involved insist that a struggle had occurred between one of the officers and Ford prior to the shooting. After a lengthy investigation, the Los Angeles Police Commission—a five-member civilian review board that oversees the LAPD—determinedin June of this year that one of the officers was wrong to draw his weapon and open fire. But because LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has final say over disciplinary matters, it is possible that he could refrain from meting out any punishment to the officers involved—something that has happened multiple times before. These situations have led to heated disagreementsbetween Beck and the Commission about his lack of punitive action in cases where the board has determined wrongdoing by an officer.
By Robin D. G. Kelley in LA Times - As we mark 50 years since the Watts riots, expect endless newsreel footage of buildings aflame and National Guard units occupying Central Avenue, experts rattling off gruesome statistics, eyewitness accounts of that stifling hot night on Aug. 11, 1965, when Marquette Frye's drunk driving arrest became the flashpoint for one of the worst incidents of civil unrest in U.S. history. But a focus on violence and looting reduces the people of Watts to “rioters” rather than residents confronting social and economic catastrophe. What they burned is less important than what they built, both before and after the insurrection. By 1965, Watts faced double-digit unemployment, rampant poverty and a shortage of livable housing. Restrictive covenants, real estate agents, lending institutions and white civic associations conspired to maintain racial segregation.
By Jeff Sharlet un GQ - Five months after the March 1 Los Angeles police killing of an unarmed black man named Charly "Africa" Keunang—a story I reported in-depth for the July issue of GQ—the Los Angeles coroner has finally released the results of its autopsy. They are profoundly disturbing. Two of the six bullets that killed Charly entered his body through what are called "contact gunshot wounds"—which means the muzzle of the officer's gun was pressed directly against Charly's body. Like a slaughterhouse killing. I'd already reviewed a less-detailed autopsy report commissioned privately by Keunang's family and had access to leaked body-cam videos and recordings of internal police interviews with several of the officers involved. Even so, the autopsy report is startling. There's a moment in the body-cam video when it appears to me that Officer Francisco Martinez has his hand on Charly's torso—Charly is on his back after having been wrestled down and tased—with his gun pointed at the body.
By Ted Rall in A New Domain - As an editorial cartoonist for The Los Angeles Times, I have drawn numerous cartoons critical of the Los Angeles Police Department’s abuse, corruption and heavy-handed incompetence. Now it seems the LAPD has gotten even: It has convinced the Times to fire me. At issue is a blog I wrote to accompany my May 11, 2015 cartoon for the Times. It was about an announced LAPD crackdown. Not on violent crime, but jaywalking. I opened with a personal anecdote from nearly 14 years ago, when a Los Angeles police officer ticketed me for jaywalking on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. The date was October 3, 2001. I’ll get into the allegations below the fold. But first, here is a far-from-complete sample of LAPD-related cartoons I’ve drawn for The Times and some other publications. . .
By PM Beers in The Anti-Media - Last Wednesday, the city decided to hold another meaningless meeting. It was intended allow community members upset with police violence against minorities a chance to vent,once again, to deaf ears. The Human Relations Commission hosted the first of two special board meetings regarding the impact of community policing. This first board meeting explored the issues of racial profiling and uses of force. After an hour and a half of venting to the reluctant panel, a young man named Evan went up to the podium to speak. He was upset at the division the podium created in the room and the physical separation between those speaking and those who were supposedly there to listen. He told the crowd to move the podium that separated the two groups.