“Enough is Enough”: LA residents respond to LAPD’s new police tactics

Street where LA Riots took place

Street where LA Riots took place

There may be hope for a healthier relationship between LAPD and the Los Angeles Community.

Monday morning, LAPD announced the department was on Blue Alert due to the death of an African American male in Baltimore who died from a police beating.

According to KJLH radio station, both ‘Blood’ and ‘Crip’ gang members in Los Angeles area are currently working together to prevent riots from happening and to rebuild the city. Residents of Los Angles, have decided on a strategies similar to LAPD’s new tactic to control crime in the community.

On Tuesday, April 15, Mayor Eric Garcetti gave his State of the City Address, discussing the various ways the Los Angeles Police Department is going to control crime in their community and strengthen their relationship with Angelenos.

The LAPD is increasing the number of officers allotted in their Metropolitan Division to 200. The increase allows for the department to send officers to areas in a timely manner.

Los Angeles Police Department

Los Angeles Police Department

According to the LAPD press release, The mayor announced the budget for the Gang Reduction Youth Development (GRYD) has been increased by $5.5 million. GYRD works in heavily affected areas were gang violence is prevalent.  The increase will allow for the program to police new areas to help with, “year-round Friday night programming in select parks.”

Aside from the increase in officers, Garcetti also revealed the new LAPD division designed to integrate community outreach, community policing and social media engagement.

But, residents of Los Angeles are wondering how the new policing tactics will work when there has been an increase of police beatings among African American men in the U.S. Residents are concerned with the lack of accountability police officers are failing to receive, who they believe, should be held responsible for their actions. Some Los Angeles residents are in fear.

“I truly fear for everyone not just the younger generation but the older generation. I am in fear for Blacks as well as Whites and Hispanics. I am not sure if there will be a repeat of the LA riots,” said Los Angeles resident Dell Reneau.

The Los Angeles community has had a strained relationship with the Los Angeles Police Department dated back to 1992, the year of the historical LA Riots.

Both the department and some members of the public believe there is disconnect between LAPD officers and the community. Some citizens and retired officers are in disbelief of the relationship being salvaged and do not believe tactics have changed.

LAPD

LAPD

“It all sounds good. He [Garcetti] is saying the right stuff. But the proof is in the pudding. Having an entirely new police division is supposed to do what, make everyone happy?” said Retired LAPD Sergeant & Author of “The Creation of a Manifesto- Black & Blue” Cheryl Dorsey. “It would be nice if the Chief would admit wrong doing when it’s painfully obvious and stop the two tied system of discipline as it relates to penalties meted out to officers who are not in “Beck’s camp.”

The police department has replaced its former paramilitary tactics after the LA Riots with community outreach, community policing and social media engagement tactics. The city of Los Angeles continues to see the same paramilitary tactics used during the LA Riots.

The LA Riots happened as a response to one beating and one murder. The most well known is the LAPD police beating of African American male Rodney King. 13 days after the King beating was the murder of Latasha Harlins, a 15 year old teenager who was shot in the back of the head by a liquor store owner.

The verdict for the King case found the LAPD officers not guilty. During this time the verdict for the  liquor store owner in the Harlins case had been made public. The owner was given a minimal sentence of a $500 fine and probation.

According to southcentralhistory.com, “Nobody could believe it. The officers were on tape and they were still not convicted. The feelings of anger and disappointment had built up long enough, and within minutes of the verdict, rioting started in South Central on Florence and Normandie.”

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Rioters began to set liquor stores and community businesses on fire, steal from stores and attack people who were not of Black dissent. Business owner Juan Carlos describes his store as one of the lucky businesses that remained standing.

“The riots started so fast and were out of control in a matter of hours. In fact, an entire strip center was burnt to the ground right across the street from my business,” said Dba JCS car stereo and alarm business owner Juan Carlos Garcia.

Garcia’s business was looted and partially destroyed during the LA Riots. He saw rioters beginning to move closer to his business. While attempting to move items from the store to his vehicle to prevent damage, he returned to witness a dangerous situation happening at his store.

“I lost several thousand dollars as most of the stores displays and several merchandise was destroyed and or stolen,” said Garcia. “Upon my return to the business, I found the place being destroyed. Some of the looters were my own customers. Myself, family and friends engaged into fights and threw whoever we could out of my store. The situation became rather dangerous so we all decided to leave and hope for the best.”

Garcia closed the store for several weeks after the riots to repurchase items, restock the store and install security systems to prevent future break-ins.

Residents who chose not to participate in the riots, were told to stay in their homes.

“I remember riding Northbound on Normandie. As we approached Manchester, I could see fires on both sides of the street. My friend and I got down on the floor of her Cadillac Seville, afraid the glass was going to break because due to the heat from the fire,” said Los Angeles resident Cheryl Dennis.” I was so scared, I remember watching the news and they said there were over 1,000 buildings that had burned down.  I remember crying because I thought they would burn down the whole city and I lived alone.”

The riot lasted for five days and ended with 53 people killed and over $1 billion in damages.

The LA riots is one of many incidents regarding paramilitary policing that residents have experienced over the past couple of years.

“Tactics in my opinion have not changed; policies have not changed and attitudes have not changed. Lip service is given and a more covert method of policing is what we are seeing,” Dorsey said.

On August 14, 2014, mentally ill African American male Ezell Ford was killed by LAPD officers. Ford was walking down Florence in South Los Angeles when he was stopped by officers.

According to washingtonpost.com, officers attempted to stop Ford from walking away and a struggle occurred between him and the officers. Police say, during the struggle they fell on the ground and Ford attempted to grab one of the officer’s guns. The article states, the other officer, “fired his handgun and the officer on the ground fired his backup weapon at the individual.” The struggle resulted in Ford being sent to a hospital where he later died.

Residents in the Los Angeles area responded to the incident by protesting and shutting down the 110 freeway.

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Past and recent events of police beatings and killings of African American men, have led to the changes in the policing system along with the increase in crime.

According to the LAPD website, the Community Relations Division mission is to work on, suggest and toughen policy and programs that, “enhance police/community relations, increase understanding and cooperation and reduce the fear of crime.”

Photographer during the LA riots and Los Angeles resident Mark Hamilton believes the department tactics are a step in the right direction.

“A lot of black young kids are afraid of the police. I don’t care if your children are black or brown, parents need to put police officers in a good light. Parents also need to be comfortable with that police officers so that their kids will be,” Hamilton said. “We need community police, police should be from the community or living in the area. If you aren’t living in the community, then you don’t understand certain cultural things compared to people who do live in the community. A certain percentage of LAPD officers should live within LA area.”

The new division will highlight community relationship-building alongside the LAPD and the African American and Hispanic communities in the city while using the top of the line digital media technologies.

Mayor Garcetti had this to say in a Los Angeles Times interview, “I want to be very clear: Having more police officers there is not about having a greater presence in terms of an occupying force,” Garcetti said. “This is about making sure that we have cops that we know, and that can immediately make a crime spike not become a crime wave.”

 

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Student kills substitute teacher on 16th anniversary of Columbine shooting

Courtesy: Creative Commons

Courtesy: Creative Commons

A machete and a crossbow were the weapons 13 year old student used to kill his substitute teacher.

School at Instituto Joan Foster in Barcelona, Spain was anything but ordinary for students who saw their substitute teacher laying in a pool of blood.

The 13 year old armed student was said to have wounded four other students, two students were taken to the hospital and a wounded teacher was treated at the scene of the crime.

According to ABC 7 News, the student is described as being a “loner.”

One student at the high school had this to this, “[The boy] didn’t have problems but he was kind of a loner …. other students would pick on him,” student Paula Amayuelas said.

16 years ago on this same day, the Columbine attack took place. Police are unaware if the armed student was attempting to recreate the attack.

 

Former Edgewood High student files lawsuit

Courtesy: Creative Commons

Courtesy: Creative Commons

 

Former Edgewood High School student checked out and filed a lawsuit against the school president and principal for the failure of disciplining students who were racially taunting him.

African American student Blake Broadnax, left the school after being racially harassed by his peers for three years.

As a result of the taunting, Broadnax was depressed and caused him and his family to move to Fishers, Ind.

According to Chicago Defender, “In a sophomore science class, Broadnax was told by a female student to “stop acting black” and “ghetto.” After Broadnax told the student her comments were inappropriate, the teacher threatened to send Broadnax to the principal’s office. Broadnax asked if he could go to the office to report the incident, but the teacher told him to sit down.”

The school officials stated they spoke to the family after each incident of racial taunting that took place and the family was satisfied with the outcome of the meetings. School officials also stated that their staff and faculty always acted appropriately.

“We firmly believe that Edgewood High School faculty and staff acted promptly and appropriately at all times in addressing and taking action on the matters that were brought to our attention.”

A Change for Ferguson’s City Council

 

Courtesy: Creative Commons

Courtesy: Creative Commons

 

The racial make up of Ferguson City Council has changed due to the victory wins for candidates Wesley Bell and Ella Jones.

Originally the city was governed by a board with about 5 to 6% whites, even though Ferguson is 70% African American.

This year, the council board will be made up of 50% African Americans.

According to the wavenewspapers.com, Jones will be the first African American women to sit on the Ferguson council.

“Thank you ward 1, I love you,” said Jones.

This was the city’s first election since the killing of the unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown by white officer Darren Wilson.

President Barack Obama-Cleveland City Center: Analysis

 

Courtsey of Creative Commons

Courtesy of Creative Commons

The duty of a journalist is to determine the truth and provide that information to the public. Sometimes, when journalist report on speeches given by politicians, they lose sight of the main goal which is providing the people with what they want. Instead journalist publish what politicians say without fact checking. Ultimately the publications and the journalist end up losing the reader’s trust. This brief analysis will touch on the middle class economics speech made by President Obama at the City Club of Cleveland. This analysis will also discuss the accuracy of some of the comments he made during his speech.

Throughout Obama’s speech, he spoke about the number of jobs he has created since he has been in office along with the number of people that are going back to work due to his proposals. “Since 2010, America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and all advanced economies combined,” stated President Obama in his remarks speech regarding middle class economics. According to politifact.com, this quote is true. Obama has created jobs for people to go back to work compared to other countries.  Next Obama stated that, “the economy is creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999.” According to the website this is also true. In this particular speech, the comments Obama makes in regards to middle class economics have been found to be true and or half true.

Obama stated, “high school graduation rate hit another all time high.” During his visit to Valencia College in Orlando, Florida, Obama made a similar comment. The president stated, “high school graduation rate is the highest on record.” Three years before his speech at Valencia College, the President gave his State of the Union address stating many jobs require people to have more than a high school diploma yet, students are dropping out of high school. The statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics at the Education Department stated high graduation rates had increased by 81 percent. Their research was based off the 1969 calculations of high school dropout rates in comparison to the current year. This statement would be looked at as either true or half true.

According to politifact.com,  there is some debate on the type of methodology and the consistency in numbers in regards to determining whether or not high school graduation rates are increasing. The website states that the one thing everyone can agree on is the truth, which is high school graduation rates are increasing. Obama went on to say “Today America isn’t just number one in gas but number one in wind power.” After researching this statement from the speech, the researched conducted proved this statement true.

According to CNBC article,”Though China has more megawatts of wind turbines installed than the U.S—about 90,000 to America’s 60,000—the U.S. actually produces more electricity that is delivered to the grid, which in turn reaches more businesses and homes. And while China’s wind industry delivered less than 138 billion kilowatt-hours in 2013, the U.S.’s delivered more than 167 billion.” This would mean the U.S. has been increasing its numbers since the President was in office during his first term. “That’s 20 percent more than China. And the U.S.’s generation has been growing steadily since 2008, when it first overtook Germany to become the world’s No. 1 producer.”

When the President came into office, he promised to fix the current health care system in place without increasing the deficit. In his Cleveland City Center Speech, he stated, “the affordable health care act alone will cut our deficits by more than a trillion dollars over the next two decades.” The president also stated that,”The affordable care act, more than 16 million more Americans have gained the security of health care coverage.” This is a true statement, the cost of health care has played a major role in the increase of the deficits.

Last year, Washington Post writer Paul Waldman wrote an article stating, “the CBO says the deficit this year will be $506 billion, or 2.9 percent of GDP. In 2013 it was $680 billion, so that’s a pretty steep drop. And in terms of GDP, not only is that slightly lower than the average deficit of the last 40 years (3.1 percent), it’s also a 70 percent decline from Obama’s first year in office, where because of the Great Recession, which brought both the need for more spending and a plunge in tax revenues, the deficit peaked at 9.8 percent of GDP.”

Obama wrapped up the speech with a quick discussion of the vaious ways people tried to put down his ideaswhile he was campagining during the election. He also listed off all of the benifical  things that have rsulted from him being in office for two terms. More specifically the good things that came out of his ideas and plans he wanted to accomplish during his presidency. He compares the Republican budget to his own.Stating their budget will make things worse unltimately hurting both the middle and poor class. He believes the Republican party does not want the wealthy class to sacrifice anything ( money). He uses the example of the fact that the Republican party is putting forth the same proposal year after year instead of making changes. Lastly, he states the Republican party Cannot claim they are concerned with helping working families get ahead when the proposals they are putting forth is for those who have already prospered.

“In more concrete terms, the reduced estimates mean that the federal government’s long-term budget deficit is considerably less severe than commonly thought just a few years ago. The country still faces a projected deficit in future decades, thanks mostly to the retirement of the baby boomers and the high cost of medical care, but it is not likely to require the level of fiscal pain that many assumed several years ago.”

This does not mean that their is not a possibility that the U.S will not go through another increase in their deficit. The American people can rest assure during the remaining time of President Barack Obama’s time in office. As for now,  another check off the list for Obama presidency.