At the CNN building in Hollywood, hundreds gathered Dec. 23 to condemn what they called the network’s “whiteout” of protests of police killings, including the weekly actions against Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who refuses to prosecute killer cops. The protest was called by Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.
According to an August 24 article in the Guardian, Los Angeles has “one of the country’s deadliest police systems.”
Referring to the many families whose loved ones have been killed, the article states: “They face an uphill battle in the most secretive state in the U.S. for police misconduct, in a region where officers who shoot are never prosecuted.”
The Los Angeles Police Department has a long history of brutal and racist policing. It was telling that the rally and march were held in Hollywood, given the plethora of police dramas produced there glorifying the LAPD.
Protesters marched through Hollywood from CNN to a 24 Hour Fitness gym where Albert Ramon Dorsey, a Black man, was shot and killed by cops on Oct. 29.
There, a lawyer for Dorsey’s family explained that the LAPD killed an unarmed man who, after coming from the shower in the fitness center, was faced with police who did nothing but escalate the situation. The police were responding to a trespassing complaint from a manager of the center.
“I can say that it was a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and I would be right, but what it really is, is a failure to recognize his humanity,” the attorney said.
That characterization of police conduct was confirmed by LAPD Public Information Director Josh Rubenstein, who introduced a police-approved video of the incident to the public in December. Cops narrated each scene and set up the incident captured on video to somehow tell us: “Don’t believe your lying eyes.”
According to the police, Dorsey was homeless and had a record of allegedly unprovoked and violent encounters with staff at the fitness center, which somehow justified his killing — what most people would call premeditated murder on the part of the cops.
We are expected to ignore these simple facts shown in the video: Dorsey was just taking a shower with no one around him and listening to his music. He was calm, noncombative and basically just ignoring the two cops who confronted him. When told to leave, he continued to ignore them until they decided to put their hands on him and scream at him to stop “tensing up” while they bent his arm in ways that are unnatural and painful.
We’re also told to ignore the fact that all they had to do was wait and get a health care professional to talk him out of the facility. All they had to do was nothing — just wait for someone who knows how to de-escalate, not threaten and humiliate.
In that regard, perhaps sending a woman cop into a men’s locker room was unnecessary and not really appropriate, unless your intent was to pile on your racism with a blatant show of disrespect, since Dorsey was naked.
And, finally, we’re told to ignore the fact that, miraculously, both cops’ body cameras fell off before the violence ending in death occurred. The primary justifications for the shooting are explained, not shown.
We’re told by one of the cops narrating the incident that Dorsey, after being tasered twice, grabbed a taser and pushed the female cop to the ground, repeatedly hitting her, before he was shot. We hear what hauntingly sounds like an automatic weapon that continually spits out bullets at a rapid pace, a weapon seemingly more suited for a battlefield.
Of course, we can’t see any of this.
Dorsey died after being shot multiple times because he was a Black man who ignored the orders of police. Said the family’s lawyer: “He had not hurt anyone, there was no victim, there was no gun. He was just a naked man who was not following their commands. …
“I can tell you it was a complete abrogation of their policies and their procedures to see a man in crisis and fail to de-escalate the situation. Through their commands and actions and demeanor, all they did was escalate the tension and violence, culminating in a hail of gunfire on an unarmed man. It was completely unnecessary.”
Melina Abdullah of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles urged everyone to participate in a boycott of the 24 Hour Fitness facility, which sparked a loud and resonating chant of the word “Boycott!” that reverberated off the surrounding corporate office walls.
The fact that the LAPD feels their video showing how they are responsible for murder somehow vindicates them should be a lesson to everyone fighting police terror. It tells us that they don’t see Black and Brown people as human.
It tells us that appealing to the humanity of the police, from the cop on the street to the highest pig in the chain of command, is fruitless and in fact hides an important truth: They will not change until we’ve built a movement that forces them to, utilizing any means necessary.