i stood on the sidewalk, watching (women can get away with this much more then men can– andy, 6 ft tall, and rather hefty, stayed in the car!)
when the officer came over to me and told me the street was clear, andy drove the car home, and i walked past the gathering of officers and neighbor, asked him if he needed anything, and stood at my gate. one of the officers suggested i move on. “i’m just hanging out in front of my home on a pleasant evening” i told him. i waited until my neighbor was released, i signaled to him and he followed me into our home until the danger was gone. we made sure he got to his home safely.
our security cameras of course, caught the whole thing!!!! (we installed them because of the political stalking we’ve experienced. it had never occurred to me that the cameras would also provide for the safety of the rest of the community under police siege.)
eight cops, 5 cars, and according to my neighbor, they told him they were introducing him to the new cops on the beat, and felt they needed to hand cuff him for their safety.
los angeles is struggling with a terrible financial crisis. is this an appropriate use of city funds? do the math. eight cops, at least a half hour of man hours each, to provide for a most unnecessary introduction, to create a most outrageous provocation, and establish a police presence on a street with almost no crime.
like most days, today, the helicopters continued over head regularly, including two military helicopters. often these ghetto birds pass so low, they shake the buildings. another neighbor says his daughters cry at night because the noise scares them.
rampart division of the lapd is one of the most brutal divisions of one of the most brutal police departments. most of the men in my neighborhood have been criminalized, either by discriminatory immigration laws or by a system that is unforgiving of the excesses of youth. these young men don’t have the lawyers or the connections of their counterparts in angelino heights, west l.a., brentwood. pulled over for walking down the street, frisked regularly as children, from the time their bodies took on a manly form, ticketed, taken in, penalized for the smallest infraction and set in the system for life.
i know these men. they are my neighbors. some have helped with the urban farm, others are construction workers who worked with me, transforming this old, neglected slum of a duplex into two beautiful homes. they watch over this street– a strangely peaceful place in a brutal large amerikan city. they aren’t who the police say they are. they aren’t the accumulation of whatever youthful transgressions they may have committed. they aren’t the sum of the limitations of options for city youth.
there was no cause for this show of force. there was no need even for the introduction. there was no legitimate reason to utilize so much of a failing city’s resources. there certainly was no explanation (beyond the daily harassment and the establishment of police presence) for shining the light into our eyes or closing off the street!!!!
on this street we look after each other. it isn’t safe to call the cops.