Friday, March 6, 2015

How The DOJ Ferguson Report Frames The Way We See LA's Skid Row Shooting

Sunday's fatal shooting of a homeless man in Los Angeles' Skid Row neighborhood gained new relevance when the Justice Department released its report on the Ferguson police department Wednesday. The heavily critical report revived the conversation on racial bias in policing tactics, forcing some to question racial politics within the Los Angeles Police Department.

Patrice Cullors, a co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter who marched to the LAPD headquarters in downtown LA in protest on Tuesday, spoke out about the LAPD's grim past in a HuffPost Live conversation on Thursday. Cullors explained that despite differences between the Ferguson and Skid Row shootings, the death of Charley Saturmin Robinet at the hands of a police officer represents more of the same.

"No department at this point across the country wants to be seen as NYPD or Ferguson," she said. "No, LA is not Ferguson or New York. [But] LA is LAPD, who brutalized Rodney King, who has been a part of some of the most crooked scandals in the history of policing. LA has its own terrible history, and we have to deal with it as such."

While the DOJ Ferguson report may have seemed like a victory for Ferguson activists, it came with the decision not to pursue civil right charges against officer Darren Wilson. Cullors told HuffPost Live's Marc Lamont Hill the report reaffirmed what many already believed.

"We've gotta get over being excited about the reports that sort of already say the things we knew about, and many organizations have already reported on this stuff," Cullors said.

But there is still a silver lining, Cullors added.

"Given that we do have this report, it does provide leverage to how we have a conversation with elected officials and appointed officials, in particular around legitimizing what we already know in our communities," she said.

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation for more details on the Skid Row shooting here.

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