Click here to go to home page

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 police car.

Devin Brown's mother, Evelyn Davis,
at his funeral.

A few minutes and 10 bullets later, the cops called for an ambulance.

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 it.

IAC: Disarm LAPD

Following are excerpts from a statement released by the Los Angeles Interna tional Action Center after the killing:

"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 youth.

"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 times.

"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 soon.

"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 videotape?

"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 job?

"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 Latino youth.

"...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 submit!"

This article is copyright under a Creative Commons License.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Email: [email protected]
Subscribe [email protected]
Support independent news

Download the
print edition
Download PDF

Requires Acrobat Reader

Haiti: A Slave Revolution

 Haiti: A Slave Revolution

Read online:
Lessons for the anti-war movement