1,300 FBI Agents and LAPD Cops Carry Out Military-Style Strikes in South Central Los Angeles

July 21, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


It was 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning, I heard this banging noise on my door. Seemed like they was just tearing down the door; it was very loud, I didn’t know what was goin’ on, I thought somebody was beatin’ on my car. I thought it was an earthquake at first, and then I thought somebody was breakin’ into the house, which they were. They was breakin’ into the house. I got up, and woke him up [her husband], like, “What is that noise?” So he got up and went to the front and was like, “It’s the police.”

By that time they was comin’ in on us, and sayin’ “get down, get down.” And I just started screaming, I was just letting them know, I have an autistic son, I had my mother and my mother-in-law there, they both sick, with heart problems and different stuff like that... I had to really scream, and pretty much put my life in danger. At that point I just really did not care because I felt it wasn’t right, I didn’t know what they was comin’ for; I hadn’t done nothing wrong; he hadn’t—we hadn’t done anything wrong. (Terri)

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, June 17, an army of 1,300 heavily armed FBI agents and LAPD cops spread out over South Central Los Angeles, smashing down doors and busting into houses and apartments. Armed with arrest warrants, names, and addresses, teams of 10 or more cops tore off metal security doors and stormed inside each address, aiming their shotguns and rifles at everyone—from small children to elderly grandparents. Then they forced the residents outside in the darkness and cold while they searched the houses for their “targets.” This is what “serving a warrant” looks like in the inner city.

At least 10 cops came into our house. They had guns, shotguns, handguns, pointed into the house. One had a scope with a light on it, pointed at me, and he was just screamin’, and my son said, “Look, that’s my mom, take that gun off of her, she don’t have nothing.” I had just had a mild stroke and by all the noise I grabbed my left side, and I said, “Wait a minute, why are you comin’ in here like this? Why are you doin’ this to us?” (Terri’s mother-in-law, Matti)

I was handcuffed, because I was screaming I guess, goin’ off at them... I did not want them putting them guns in my child’s face, or scaring my child, or any of that. They put the handcuffs on my husband and took him outside; he don’t have any clothes on, he’s only in his boxers, and no shirt, no socks, nothing else. (Terri)

He didn’t have a stitch on. He was saying, “Mom, it’s going to be OK, mom, please don’t get upset, you just had a mild stroke.” They thought it was funny. Cause every last one of ’em was standing right in a line, on the sidewalk, laughing about this. They upset her mom also... They couldn’t help but see the wheelchair. They didn’t know she didn’t have no legs... She had to say, “I don’t have no damn legs and I ain’t rollin on no floor.” (Matti)

These raids targeted individual addresses; and they were not focused on one neighborhood, but were spread out over different parts of South Central. Because of this, the entire operation was carried out largely in secret—neighbors down the street or on nearby blocks were largely unaware of what was taking place at the time. This should send a chill down the spine of anyone who recognizes the scent of Nazi Germany, and the tactics of the Gestapo that rounded up Jewish people during Hitler’s regime.

The coverage by the mainstream media of this overwhelming mobilization of violence amounted to reprinting the FBI and LAPD press releases as “news.” And barely a word has been written since that day about this early morning of terror.

“...they really have made things worse...”

At the courthouse Terri and Matti ran into other women they knew, who told similar stories. One young pregnant woman said they broke into her house and took her child’s father out of bed. Another woman was leaving to go to work when they came to the door. She said “Jesus! He don’t do nothing. He works! So why they took him?” And the 19-year-old boyfriend was arrested.

Terri said the same thing about her husband, now in his 40s:

He hasn´t done anything but stayed out of trouble, do odd jobs... My brother-in-law has his own business, and he does that. He doin’ that to keep busy. And he been doin’ odd painting jobs around the neighborhood. He didn’t have warrants. No driving record or anything like that, no bail warrant, none of that. No violation, parole warrants, nothing. He was doing odd jobs with his uncle, and painting, stuff like that.

Another said that the person arrested from their house had already been to jail, done time, parole, all that. Others said that those arrested from their homes had good jobs. The point they were making is that these weren’t “body warrants;” they weren’t arrests of people believed to have committed a crime. And then people talked about how these raids would make a desperate situation worse:

He’s gonna have done lost his job—if he get out then what’s he gonna have? Nothing. You know... it’s enough goin’ on as it is; people can’t pay the bills, and losin’ their homes, just by the system. It’s ridiculous... They really have made things worse. Because they have families they tryin’ to take care of, and the little jobs they do get, they tryin’ to hold on to it... They got kids. Why would you take them away from this? Why!? You can’t find a job with that type of record.

All of those arrested in this massive police strike are scheduled to appear in federal court in downtown LA on August 14.

Guilt by Association

None of those arrested are being released on bail; and friends or family members are not allowed to visit them for 90 days. But none of this is supposed to matter; after all, the public has been assured that those arrested are the “worst of the worst.” The authorities claim to have arrested 50 members or associates of a street gang known as the Five Deuce Broadway Gangster Crips.

Those arrested have been indicted for conspiracy, based on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law. The FBI claims the indictment “outlines two decades of criminal conduct, including murders, robberies, extortion, witness intimidation, and narcotics trafficking.” It alleges that, over 27 years, members of the gang committed four murders; in one case fired shots at California Highway Patrol officers, committed robberies, and sold drugs near schools and playgrounds.

RICO was created decades ago with the alleged purpose of getting the leaders of Mafia gangs who were “shot-callers” but didn’t themselves carry out the crimes. Now it’s being used for an entirely different purpose—the incarceration of large sections of basic people on the basis of “guilt by association,” and terrorizing the masses of whole sections of the inner cities.

What this really means is that if the Feds allege that you are, or have ever been, “associated” with this group, then you are now being arrested and held accountable for any crime committed by anyone else the FBI claims is, or was, also associated with this group. Keep in mind these are not unsolved crimes; someone has already been convicted and done time for them.

Someone who witnessed the arrests said they saw at least five people in their 50s in custody. And there are others arrested who were no more than 19 or 20 years old. That means among those rounded up, there are people who may have left any meaningful connection to the gang years ago; and others who are now facing the mandatory 10 years in prison, or who are so young they couldn’t have had any involvement in the vast majority of these alleged crimes.

Mass Incarceration + Silence = Genocide

This is not the first time that federal, state, and local police forces have carried out this kind of massive coordinated raid. Less than a year earlier, more than 800 of these storm troopers were unleashed in a section of South Central, supposedly targeting another gang. And in October 2009, 1,100 federal, state, and LAPD forces targeted another gang.

These massive police raids provide training in integrating and coordinating police forces on the federal and state level with different local police departments throughout a region. The FBI identified three other police departments in Southern California that took part in the pre-dawn assault together with the LAPD. And they named three other local police forces that helped gather information that went into the preparation for these surgical strikes.

An essential component of this form of policing is CompStat, or “Computer Comparison Statistics,” a data-driven system “for managing crime reduction,” according to its handlers. This is the program that William Bratton first implemented in the 1990s as police commissioner of New York City under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Credited by the authorities with dramatically decreasing crime in the city, it has spread across the country. This reliance on statistics and statistical analysis gives the impression that policing decisions are objective, efficient, and benign. They are nothing of the sort.

What it actually does is enable law enforcement to justify, and normalize, targeting whole neighborhoods and peoples for “special policing”—and claim they are doing it for the “good of the neighborhood” based on higher crime statistics. CompStat serves what’s called “predictive policing,” or pro-active policing—the idea that the authorities are capable of predicting who is going to commit crimes, and therefore are justified in instituting a degree of social control that has turned whole sections of inner cities into war zones.

Another information-gathering tool being instituted by police forces around the country, and justified in the name of this crackdown on inner-city crime, are license plate recorders, which are used to identify and record huge quantities of license plate numbers of parked cars, or cars passing by. The manufacturers of these LPRs are aiming to fuse this technology with public records and facial recognition software to enable cops to instantly identify and search records for anyone driving by or parking on the street.

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network has brought forward a slogan: Mass Incarceration + Silence = Genocide. A June 30 article in Revolution describes the genocidal aspect of this systematic criminalizing of generations of Black and Latino youth:

A genocidal program needs to create broad public opinion to justify the attacks on the section of the population it is targeting. So, for example, getting middle class people as well as people in the Black community itself to think that the Black youth are “criminals who are hopeless and have no one to blame but themselves” has been an important ideological component of justifying the war on drugs and mass incarceration. And this also lays the basis for the system to get people in society to accept future and even more genocidal attacks against Black people, especially the youth. (“Understanding Genocide, Black People, and Capitalist Accumulation.”)


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