Los Angeles Area Police Murder and Brutality: The Dogs Are STILL in the Motherfucking Street!

May 27, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader:

David Sal Silva, with his three daughters. Photo, courtesy his family.

The recent beating death of David Sal Silva by deputy sheriffs in Bakersfield, California, reminded me of the 1978 murder of José Campos Torres, a 23-year-old Vietnam War vet. Campos Torres was arrested by the Houston police for public drunkenness, then beaten so savagely the jail would not even book him until he was taken for medical treatment. Instead, the cops took him to a local bayou and threw him in the water. His drowned body was found floating the next day.

Poet and musician Gil Scott Heron wrote a moving piece about the murder at the time. He talked in the poem about how he'd said he wasn't going to write any more songs about police brutality and racism, but then ended with the lines:

And the dogs are in the motherfucking street.
I had said I wasn't going to write no more poems like this.
I made a mistake.

I was provoked to do a Google News search under "police shootings Los Angeles." It turned up the following reports just in the last month in the Southern California area. The news stories almost never acknowledged the victims' humanity—how they are the brother, or the child, or the parent of other people, real flesh-and-blood human beings. Most news reports didn't even bother to list the victims' names.

1. April 25, early morning, northwest LA County—An unidentified homeless man was shot and killed by a San Fernando Police Department cop in the northwest corner of Los Angeles County after reports about a dispute between the man and another person at a nearby McDonald's. The officer said he was getting out of his squad car when the homeless man attacked him with a large tree branch. The cop first used a Taser but said it didn't stop the man, then he fired his service pistol. The man was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

2. April 26, before dawn, southeast LA County—An unidentified man was shot and wounded by El Monte Police Department cops while driving a reportedly stolen delivery truck. Police said that when they deployed spike strips, the driver put the truck in reverse and attempted to hit other officers. Police then opened fire—witnesses reported between 16 and 30 shots—and bullet holes could be seen in the windshield and driver-side door.

3. April 26, mid-afternoon, South Central LA—Brice Jefferson was shot and killed by LA County Sheriff's deputies. He reportedly was arguing with a young woman who called the authorities. The sheriffs claim a deputy was injured when struck by Jefferson's car. Deputies then shot him.

4. April 26, evening, 25 miles south of LA in Orange County—An unidentified man was shot and wounded by Garden Grove police. Undercover cops on a stakeout saw him drive into the lot they were watching and radioed for uniformed cops after fear he would blow their cover. He supposedly tried to flee in his car. The cops said they fired multiple shots after he drove toward the undercover cops, striking him at least once.

5. April 28, just after midnight, south of Los Angeles—Long Beach police shot and killed an unidentified man after alleged reports of a man with a gun. He was running away when killed.

6. April 30, before dawn, East LA—An unidentified man was shot and killed by LA Sheriff's deputies. He had allegedly stolen a car, then abandoned it and fled into an empty apartment and barricaded himself. Deputies said there was a "confrontation" and they opened fire.

7. May 1, mid-morning, downtown LA—An unidentified man was shot and killed by LAPD cops after an undercover officer in the area said he saw what "appeared to be a robbery in progress" in the Green Apple Market. The market is across the street from the Los Angeles Mission homeless shelter in skid row. When the man left the market, the undercover opened fire. The man ran from the scene and uniformed officers down the block shot and killed him about 150 feet from the market. A woman said the pigs "shot him like 11 times." An angry crowd from the area gathered, yelling at the officers. Police detained and later released several of them.

8. May 1, dinnertime, 50 miles east of LA in San Bernardino County—San Bernardino police claimed they saw a man commit a traffic violation but he refused to pull over and then crashed after a short pursuit. He allegedly got out of the car and became combative. He was shot and wounded and hospitalized.

9. May 5, early morning, San Fernando Valley, LA—An unidentified man was shot and wounded by LAPD cops who came to an apartment building in response to a woman's 911 call about a possible prowler. She called after someone knocked on her door and she looked out and said she saw a man with a gun. Police said he shot at them after they arrived and they fired back. The man was hospitalized in critical condition.

10. May 9, noon, east of LA—San Bernardino cops saw a car allegedly stolen after a carjacking and murder. The driver crashed and he and a passenger ran, with one allegedly firing at the police. Cops shot and killed one, sent the other to the hospital with gunshot wounds.

11. May 11, late evening, southeast LA County—LA Sheriff's deputies supposedly responded to reports of a fight where a man had a gun in the small city of Cudahy. Rigoberto Arceo, a 34-year-old Latino, was leaving the area in a car driven by his sister, after a family dispute. The pigs said Arceo advanced on a deputy, ignoring commands to stop, and tried to take the deputy's gun. His sister said he had his hands in the air and he was walking up to the squad car when he was shot in the chest and killed. The pigs then detained his sister and justified the killing based on a gun found in the car. She said it was her gun, was unloaded and fully legal, and Rigoberto did not even know it was in the car.

12. May 14, noon, 30 miles south of LA—An unidentified man and woman were seriously wounded after being shot by Santa Ana police while riding in a suspected stolen car. Police said they located the car after a Lo-Jack anti-theft tracking report and chased the car several blocks until it jumped a curb and crashed. Police would not say whether the couple was shot inside the car or as they tried to flee. Both were hospitalized.

13. May 14, just after dark, southeast LA County—LA Sheriff's deputies shot a 35-year-old man during an alleged narcotics arrest in the city of Paramount. Deputies said he tried to grab one of their guns. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.

14. May 16, mid-afternoon, northwest LA County—Christian Eaddy, 25 years old, was shot and killed by LAPD cops in the city of Pacoima. Officers went to the scene after reports of an apparently suicidal man with a knife threatening to kill himself. They claimed he threatened them with the knife.

15. May 17, early morning, east of downtown LA—Kahn Tony Nim, a 35-year-old Vietnamese immigrant with a history of mental health issues, was shot and killed in the Alhambra Police Department lobby. Officers said they tried to speak to Nim in several languages but he was unresponsive and incoherent. When he allegedly pulled a large knife from his backpack, three of the five cops opened fire. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

16. May 17, late evening, northwest LA—An unidentified man was shot and wounded by LAPD cops in Lake View Terrace after they allegedly tried to stop him and a second man. Police said they ran and then the victim was shot when he allegedly pulled a handgun and pointed it at the officers.

17. May 18, dinnertime, South Central LA—46-year-old Charles Curl, a Black man, was shot dead by an Inglewood PD officer after Curl allegedly used a machete to smash the windows of eight squad cars outside a police station. Police claim Curl was shot after charging a cop, but cell phone video taken by a passerby broadcast on local TV clearly shows Curl walking toward another squad car when a cop crouched behind the car's open door fires from at least 15 feet away. Curl later died in surgery at the hospital.

18. May 18, mid-evening, South Central LA—50-year-old Terry Laffitte, a Black man, was shot and killed by LA Sheriff's deputies. They claimed he was riding his bicycle drunk while holding a gun, that they followed him into the yard of a home where they were assaulted by several of his relatives, and that they shot him when he allegedly pulled a gun from his waistband during the fight. His sister told the media, "My brother was on the ground. They had his hands behind his back. He didn't have a gun." She also reported that the fight was recorded on a cell phone but that it was confiscated by the sheriff's department. Deputies denied that any cell phones were taken. They later claimed to have found a real gun and replica gun on Lafitte and that several of his family members involved in the fight were "known gang members."

19. May 19, late evening, 50 miles east of LA—Moreno Valley police answered a report of a suicidal man locked in the bathroom with a knife, cutting himself. The cops said he came out, dropped the knife, but then picked it up and made threatening statements to them. He was shot and wounded and admitted to a nearby hospital.

20. May 21, midnight, East LA—An unidentified man was shot and killed by LAPD cops after they said they spotted a known gang member riding a bike who pointed a gun at them. He was pronounced dead at the scene. It is unknown how many shots were fired.

21. May 22, noon, San Fernando Valley—LA Sheriff's deputies on some kind of patrol shot an unidentified man in the city of Van Nuys. No more details were given.


Last year on March 24, 2012, a 19-year-old Black youth named Kendrec McDade was shot and killed by Pasadena, California police when they claimed Kendrec ran after he and a friend reportedly stole a laptop computer while carrying a gun. The cop who killed him said he was "clutching something in his waistband." It turned out to be a cell phone. On the anniversary of his death, Pasadena officials cleared the officer who murdered him of any wrongdoing.

Kendrec McDade

Kendrec's parents have been outspoken about his murder and continue to demand justice in the face of official denials and cover-ups. They just filed a federal lawsuit against the Pasadena cops.

Last month Kendrec's father, Kenneth McDade, said eight Pasadena police came to his house looking for his nephew in connection with a felony theft case. Kenneth McDade recognized at least two of them in connection with Kendrec's murder.

One cop told Kenneth, "I'm going to fuck up your weekend." Kenneth was thrown up against a car in his driveway, handcuffed, and his shoulder was sprained. Another cop said, "Do you want me to break your arm off? Do you want this to turn into a murder case?"


Two weeks ago, U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feess ended the "Consent Decree" that led to more than 10 years of federal oversight of the Los Angeles Police Department. The Consent Decree was imposed in 2001 following the "Rampart Scandal" in which it was revealed that cops in the LAPD's anti-gang CRASH unit had routinely beaten, shot and framed mainly young Latino men, outright murdering some and generally terrorizing the immigrant community of Pico-Union. The Consent Degree was a reflection of some sharp divisions among the authorities about how to best police the city, but also was a concerted effort to clean up the image of the pigs, win sections of the population to support the cops again, and assure everyone that the authorities were "cleaning things up."

After the ruling, current LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the Consent Degree "has made this a department I am proud to hand over to my children." Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the LAPD was now a model agency reflecting the diversity of the city. Police "reform advocate" Connie Rice said the department had come a long way. And progressive lawyers and others who should know better joined in the chorus of congratulations. "Twenty years ago, 15 years ago, 10 years ago, no one could have imagined this police department would have been under control and treat the most vulnerable communities with respect," said Mark Rosenbaum, chief counsel for the ACLU of Southern California. "And by and large, it has occurred."

Oh really? The dogs are still in the motherfucking streets!

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.