LAPD and Police Commission Declare Brother Africa’s Murder by Cops “Justified”

February 8, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

Charly Leundeu Keunang, the 43-year-old homeless man known as “Brother Africa” on downtown LA’s Skid Row, was murdered in cold blood by the LAPD on March 1 last year. A cellphone video of the murder was taken by a bystander. When that video was posted online, millions of people viewed it, all around the world. They saw the LAPD roust a man out of his tent on Skid Row, use a 50,000-volt taser on him and, when he reacts to being electrically shocked, shoot him six times. The autopsy revealed two of the six shots were “contact gunshot wounds,” indicating that one of the cops held Brother Africa down and pressed his gun against the Africa’s chest and pulled the trigger. Other cops also opened fire. Plain and simple, there can be no debate on this issue of murder: this was a horrific and unjustifiable execution of an unarmed homeless immigrant from Cameroon, a country in Central Africa.

On February 2, the LA Police Commission ruled this police murder “justifiable.” The LAPD, Inspector General, and the LA Police Commission say video from body cameras worn by police show the shooting was “in policy.” The LAPD won’t release this video to the public. But several journalists have been able to view the body camera video. One journalist, Jeff Sharlet, said, “As a journalist, I’m not supposed to take sides in LAPD killing of Charly Keunang. To hell with that. I’ve seen the body cams. Facts are facts.” Sharlet also said, “This is not a matter of interpretation: LAPD Chief Charlie Beck is lying about the killing of Charly Keunang.” The attorney for the Keunang family said in reaction to the LA Police Commission ruling, “This was a cover-up, not a police investigation.”

Not too long after the LAPD murder of Brother Africa, in early May another Black, unarmed homeless man, Brendon Glenn, was shot in the back by an LAPD cop in Venice. This was another murder in cold blood, and the LAPD is hiding video footage of Brendon Glenn’s murder too.

These two unarmed homeless people murdered by the LAPD are two of 1,136 people killed by police in the U.S. in 2015. This genocidal rampage is happening in the face of nationwide protests to stop murder by police over the past year and one-half, an upsurge this country hasn’t seen for a long time. This system and its police have “doubled down”—continuing to kill people in large numbers and, over and over again, letting cops go scot-free when they do.

The ruling on Brother Africa—deeming such a blatant murder, caught on video seen by millions, of a homeless man as “justified”—delivers a specific message: a green light for the police to brutalize and kill more homeless people, in Los Angeles and across the country. There have already been many homeless people killed by police. Some we never hear about. For example, few know about the San Diego police gunning down the homeless, mentally ill Afghan immigrant Fridoon Rawshan Nehad last year. That murder was also caught on video, and a judge ruled it “justifiable.”

Consider how the police brutalize and even murder homeless people and others who should be treated with compassion and given medical care. Then consider these words from Bob Avakian, writing about Tyisha Miller, a 19-year-old African-American woman shot dead by Riverside, California, police in 1998. Miller had been passed out in her car as a result of a seizure, when police claimed that she suddenly awoke and had a gun; they fired 23 times at her, hitting her at least 12 times, and murdered her.

If you can’t handle this situation differently than this, then get the fuck out of the way. Not only out of the way of this situation, but get off the earth. Get out of the way of the masses of people. Because, you know, we could have handled this situation any number of ways that would have resulted in a much better outcome. And frankly, if we had state power and we were faced with a similar situation, we would sooner have one of our own people’s police killed than go wantonly murder one of the masses. That’s what you’re supposed to do if you’re actually trying to be a servant of the people. You go there and you put your own life on the line, rather than just wantonly murder one of the people. Fuck all this “serve and protect” bullshit! If they were there to serve and protect, they would have found any way but the way they did it to handle this scene. They could have and would have found a solution that was much better than this. This is the way the proletariat, when it’s been in power has handled—and would again handle—this kind of thing, valuing the lives of the masses of people. As opposed to the bourgeoisie in power, where the role of their police is to terrorize the masses, including wantonly murdering them, murdering them without provocation, without necessity, because exactly the more arbitrary the terror is, the more broadly it affects the masses. And that’s one of the reasons why they like to engage in, and have as one of their main functions to engage in, wanton and arbitrary terror against the masses of people.

BAsics 2:16


Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

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

REVOLUTION AND RELIGION The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, A Dialogue Between Cornel West & Bob Avakian
BA Speaks: Revolution Nothing Less! Bob Avakian Live
BAsics from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian
Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)
WHAT HUMANITY NEEDS Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism
You Don't Know What You Think You 'Know' About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation Its History and Our Future Interview with Raymond Lotta
The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need