As the LAPD Celebrates 150 Years of Murder, Brutality and Repression:
Here’s the Real Story of Just One Los Angeles Pig Sty



This weekend, the Los Angeles Police Department is marking its 150th anniversary on the very day that the Revolution Club has also set a major manifestation. And, as coincidence would have it, they are both taking place at the same location: the 77th Division pig sty!

Which raises a question: who and what ARE these police? The pigs of today have replaced the racist thug sheriffs, the KKK lynch mobs and the mounted slave patrols and militias of the past. The role of the police, as Bob Avakian says, “is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in....” (from BAsics 1:24) And the police are part of the larger machinery of repression that enforces the rule of capitalism-imperialism here and around the world.

To get a sense of this let's look at the history of the 77th itself, as just one typical example. The 77th Division includes Watts, and the brutality of its pigs was a key spark of the righteous rebellion of the people in August 1965. According to various accounts of the beginning of the uprising, a young Black man, Marquette Frye, was pulled over by pigs and beaten. When a crowd gathered and protested, the pigs began attacking others too—word spread that among those brutalized was a pregnant woman. Police terror was a daily occurrence—but this was the last straw. People were outraged, and soon rocks began flying at the pigs and the struggle spread. People fought heroically for days in the first sustained mass urban rebellion of the 1960s.

The 77th Division pigs were part of the massive and brutal police and National Guard response to the rebellion, which included more than 30 Black or Latino people killed and some 5,000 injured or busted. In the book Fire This Time, author Gerald Horne wrote, “The notorious 77th Street Division—in the heart of the August 1965 curfew zone—was a veritable heart of darkness for Black L.A. One angry black complained that ‘you’ll find more people in jail in the 77th Precinct than anywhere in the city of Los Angeles, on suspicion, suspicion… don’t wear tennis shoes, because if you wear tennis shoes, you might go to jail, you might go to jail for suspicion… They search you in all ways. You spread your legs.’” 

The 77th Division is where Mark Furhman worked for many years. For those of you who don’t know, LAPD detective Furhman was the key police witness for the prosecution in the 1995 trial of OJ Simpson. Furhman testified about prosecution evidence, including a bloody glove he said he found at Simpson’s estate. During questioning by the defense, Fuhrman denied having used racist epithets during the past 10 years. The defense then introduced audio tapes featuring Furhman in which he repeatedly used the “n-word,” saying things like “People don’t want n*ggers in their town” and “We stopped the choke [chokehold] because a bunch of n*ggers have a bunch of these organizations in the south end and because all n*ggers were choked out and killed…twelve in ten years.” When asked to say under oath if he had manufactured or planted evidence in the case, Fuhrman refused to answer. The defense said Fuhrman’s lies about the use of racist language raised the possibility that Fuhrman had planted evidence as a racist plot against Simpson.

In the audio used as evidence at the trial, Fuhrman is also heard talking specifically about the 77th Division: “Why don't you give them the 77th lie detector test?... And a bunch of guys will laugh—old timers, you know. And then one kid will ask his partner, ‘what's that?’ You choke him out until he tells you the truth. You know it is kind of funny. But a lot of policemen will get a kick out of it.” As this points to, Fuhrman was not an exception—the “bunch of guys” are his fellow pigs. And Fuhrman belonged to group among the cops called "Men Against Women" that harassed women on the police force. Fuhrman went on to a lucrative career as a “law enforcement expert” on TV—an excellent commentary on what this system upholds and glorifies.

Here are just some of the people murdered by the 77th Division pigs:

In October 1998, 76-year-old Joe Joshua was riding his bike near Manchester and Vermont when he was stopped by the cops. The police later claimed Joshua charged at them with a knife. Various people in the neighborhood who saw what happened said the cops were lying, including one man who said, “I was standing right there. The police told Joe to put his hands up, so he had his hands up. His knife was in his right hand. They said he charged them. But he didn't, he was just standing there and they shot him in the chest. It was murder!”

In June 2012, Vachel Howard, a 56-year-old Black man, was set upon by six pigs while being handcuffed to a bench inside the 77th. He had told the cops he had schizophrenia and had not taken his meds. Video footage showed the pigs tasing and putting a chokehold on him. As Howard lay motionless on the floor, the officers chuckled. Howard was pronounced dead at the hospital.

On June 10, 2016, Keith Bursey, a 31-year-old Black man, and his girlfriend had parked their car in the parking lot of a store where people were hanging out. The pigs made his girlfriend sit inside with her hands on the steering wheel and made Keith get out of the car. Then they shot him in front of her. They made up the same lying excuse they always use, saying he had a gun—while witnesses saw his empty hands up.

On October 1, 2016, 77th Division pigs murdered 18-year-old Carnell “CJ” Snell—for being a Black youth in South Central, and driving in the middle of the afternoon with temporary license plates. And for running for his life when they pulled him over. People on the scene say the police shot CJ five times in the back. Witnesses told reporters Snell was running with his hands up and was telling officers not to shoot him. To add degrading obscenity to murder, police at first refused to allow CJ’s mother, who was at the scene, to see her son, as he lay dead or dying on the street in handcuffs.


Given that the LAPD is intent on celebrating its 150-year history at this very precinct this weekend, will post an article later this week exposing the multitude of crimes against the people committed by the LAPD through the decades.

You’ll learn how the LAPD was founded in 1869 and modeled on vigilante paramilitary forces with a white supremacist lynch-mob mentality. You’ll find out that the LAPD’s “highly honored” police chiefs like William Parker and Daryl Gates were stone racists, who proclaimed it was their job to keep LA “white” and that Latinos came from the “wild tribes” of Mexico, and who compared Black people to monkeys and claimed their deaths from police chokeholds were caused by their racial anatomy, not excessive police force.

We’ll document how from jump, the LAPD has carried out a reign of terror against Black and Brown people in particular—through murder, sadistic brutality, mass incarceration and political repression. How it formed SWAT and gang databases, leading the way for other pig departments in militarization and targeting whole sections of people. And we’ll show how the pigs haven’t changed their stripes no matter who’s been in charge—from the police terror that sparked the righteous Watts uprising of 1965, to the Rodney King beating and the 1992 LA rebellion, right up to today when between 2015 and 2017, the LAPD killed more people than any other police force in the whole country. In particular, we’ll show how these pigs targeted revolutionary and radical organizations.



Get a free email subscription to

Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.