LAPD guns down 13-year-old Black youth
Published Feb 17, 2005 9:19 PM
An earlier photo
of Devin Brown.
Just days after the city of
Los Angeles rewarded two Los Angeles police officers directly involved in the
brutalization of Black people with money and freedom from prosecution, police
committed another racist killing Feb. 6. This time, like many others in the
past, the victim was just 13 years old. He was killed simply for trying to get
away from the police.
Devin Brown was shot and killed by a Los Angeles
police officer at 83rd Street and Western Avenue. The victim was behind the
wheel of a Toyota Camry that police said had backed into a patrol car after
leading officers on a short chase.
Police officers Dana Grant and Steve
Garcia were on patrol shortly before 4 a.m. when they saw the Toyota drive
through a stoplight. As reported in the Los Angeles Times, the Newton Division
officers turned on their police car's siren. At 3:49 a.m., Garcia radioed to say
they were pursuing a possible drunk driver.
According to the police, the
chase was over in minutes after the car skidded turning around a curve and came
to a stop. The car's other passenger, a 14 year old, got out and ran away.
According to the LAPD, the Toyota began to move backwards and hit the cop
car. The Toyota then drove forward nine feet, coming to rest alongside the
Devin Brown's mother, Evelyn Davis,
at his funeral.
A few minutes and 10 bullets later, the cops called for an
According to a senior law enforcement official, Garcia shot at
Devin through the Toyota's passenger side windows. Garcia was reportedly
standing away from the patrol car when he shot.
Obviously, the shooting
cop's life was not in jeopardy. However, he decided that a Black youth who dares
to defy him is worthy of the death penalty.
The corporate media is
emphasizing the poor disciplinary record of Devin Brown, who was attending a
magnet school. They also emphasize that the car was reported stolen.
However, neither of these alleged facts were known to the cop who shot
Brown. All he knew was that he was Black and in an oppressed community where the
authorities never punish police brutality, but rather encourage
IAC: Disarm LAPD
Following are excerpts from a statement
released by the Los Angeles Interna tional Action Center after the
"The shooting of 13-year-old Devin Brown was yet another atrocity
perpetrated by the most dangerous gang in Los Angeles--the LAPD--who
increasingly become more deadly towards youth, especially Black and Latino
"The reaction of Police Chief Bratton is reminiscent of his
reaction to past cases of police atrocities committed while he led the New York
Police Department. Under former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's
direction, William Bratton orchestrated a new level of racist police brutality
against innocent victims, including the fatal choking of a young Latino, Anthony
Baez, and the shooting death of African immigrant Amadou Diallo, who was shot 41
"It was therefore no surprise that Bratton callously said that the
shooting of this 13-year-old honor student last Sunday [Feb. 6] was just a
matter of a bad policy he was reevaluating and it would be changed no time
"Likewise, when Stanley Miller was kicked in the head and brutally
beaten with a metal flashlight last June by LAPD cops, Bratton excused himself
from this embarrassment to his leadership by claiming he was in the process of
reevaluating the policy on using metal flashlights as weapons. However, at the
time of Miller's beating, Bratton had been in control of the LAPD and that
policy for over a year. In fact, the use of metal flashlights as weapons had
been going on for many years in Los Angeles.
"Any further excuses of
Bratton's performance and any confidence anyone has that either the mayor,
police commissioner or any friends of these folks will be able to bring justice
to this situation is beyond ludicrous. What was the result in the last two
high-profile atrocities involving police--who were actually caught on
"As former Chief of Police Bernard Parks used to say almost
every time a case of police brutality was exposed under his watch, all of these
incidents are in fact 'within policy.'
"...Perhaps it's the
"Another excuse for this prevalent abuse by cops is that they have to
make 'split-second decisions' and their job is a non-stop merry-go-round of
stress and danger. Let's examine that:
"The U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics put out a list of the "Top Ten Most Dangerous Jobs" in 2000, and cops
are not on it. The list is based on how many job-related fatalities occurred for
every 100,000 workers employed in each job category. Timber cutters are killed
the most--122.1 per 100,000. Fishers are next, with 108.3. Airplane pilots are
third ... Farmers are 10th with 25 deaths per 100,000. Police are off the chart,
with a death rate of only about nine per 100,000.
"The fact is that the
'split-second' excuse does not hold water and is another attempt at covering up
the obvious--the LAPD acts in oppressed communities like an occupying force,
much like the U.S. forces in Iraq today, who are ordered to kill (with impunity)
and target the innocent.
"For this reason it is absolutely irresponsible
to allow the LAPD to arm its officers with guns. Allowing the LAPD to carry any
weapons provides a dangerous risk to the general public and especially Black and
"...All progressive people, no matter what issue they
gravitate towards, should be able to relate to this war on oppressed people. It
reminds us of the terror by the INS against immigrants here. It has the stench
of genocide being waged against the people of Iraq, Haiti and Palestine and it
is an aspect of the repression necessary to try and force a population living in
a system that cannot provide jobs, health care and peace into submission.
"This fight has all of our names on it--let's show our solidarity with
the people facing police terror and strengthen our voice and might. We will not
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