LAPD officers shot and killed 18-year-old Carnel Snell (pictured above) on the street where he lived near Western Ave. and 107th St. in South LA after a short pursuit of a suspected stolen vehicle in which he had been a passenger. Police claimed to have found a gun at the scene, but offered no further information regarding it.
The next night, the LAPD shot and killed an unidentified Latino male, also in South LA, claiming he had a knife. Street protests ensued, as well as a demonstration at the mayor’s mansion. Community residents have been showing up to demand justice at the LA Police Commission every Tuesday at 9:00 AM at LAPD headquarters downtown. The LAPD tentatively scheduled a special meeting to focus on racial profiling on Tuesday Nov. 8 (Election Day) at the Board of Public Works, a more neutral and larger public venue.
Days before, Alfred Olango, a Ugandan refugee, was fatally shot by police in El Cajon after his sister requested assistance when he appeared to be suffering a mental breakdown over the death of his friend. Officers claimed he assumed a “shooting stance” and pointed with an “object” that turned out to be an electronic cigarette.
Reginald “JR” Thomas was shot and killed outside his home by the police in Pasadena Friday, Sept. 30, allegedly armed with a knife. His wife described him as mentally ill.
The deaths are the latest results of a decade of militarization of law enforcement, that has seen them supplied with military grade hardware and training that conditions them to see the public as the enemy. In some regions, SWAT teams are used for simple regulatory enforcement. In Orlando, thirty-seven arrests were made at barber shops for barbering without a license, while customers where held at gunpoint. A SWAT team was sent to raid a Pennsylvania farm because the farmer allegedly shipped unpasteurized milk across a state line.
Atlanta, Washington, New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles have all hired private military security contractors to train their police in used for force tactics.