Nipsey Hussle's street corner and store were targeted by LAPD
new records discovered by Stop LAPD Spying Coalition show that police picked the corner of Crenshaw and Slauson as an "anchor point" to target, your Friday long read from The Guardian
We go to The Guardian for this week's long read by Sam Levin, read the whole article “Revealed: how LAPD targeted Nipsey Hussle’s street corner and store.” We include key excerpts below to convince you it’s worth your time!
A targeted operation
Hussle, whose name became synonymous with the corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and Slauson Avenue, spent years investing in projects in the area until he was fatally shot at the intersection in March 2019. City leaders publicly mourned the artist and entrepreneur, but it was revealed soon after his death that LA law enforcement leaders had been quietly targeting his businesses with a criminal investigation, alleging it was a site of gang activity.
Internal records obtained by the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and shared with the Guardian shed new light on how LAPD invested resources into policing at Crenshaw and Slauson, suggesting that for years the department focused enforcement efforts around the community gathering spot where Hussle had bought commercial space and was working to redevelop a corner strip mall.
The files, which were acquired through public records requests, are part of the coalition’s new report on “data-driven” LAPD initiatives that will be released on Monday. The report scrutinizes a controversial and now-shuttered LAPD program called Operation Laser (an acronym for Los Angeles Strategic Extraction and Restoration), which aimed to prevent crime and “restore peace”.
Hussle opened The Marathon Clothing store in 2017, with a launch event on 17 June. In the days after the grand opening, LAPD intensified its presence on the block, the internal records suggest.
A “patrol mission report” from 21-27 June suggests that officers were deployed to the “anchor point” at Hussle’s intersection in a crime “suppression” effort. During that week at the location and surrounding blocks, LAPD recorded 58 stops, but made only seven arrests, suggesting that for the vast majority of people stopped or detained, there was no probable cause to arrest them.
Asghedom said LAPD had frequently harassed his family and passersby at the plaza in the years leading up to the 2017 launch, at one point arresting him while he was working at one of his shops on his birthday for a probation violation. But the police activity escalated dramatically after The Marathon Clothing launch, he said.
“It was like every ten minutes a [police] car is coming through the lot, and officers are hopping out. It was nonstop,” he said. In one instance, LAPD even stopped and questioned shoppers who appeared to be tourists, he said. The shoppers turned out to be off-duty police officers from out of state.
“It became, ‘Don’t come here if you don’t want police contact.’ If you did have a warrant, you ain’t coming to buy nothing from us. It was like, ‘Shit, I’m gonna get pulled over. I’m gonna get targeted,’” he said.
But even after Hussle’s death, the city continued to target the shop with a “nuisance” case, Asghedom said.
“It felt like a cat and mouse game. Their agenda was, ‘Whatever they are doing over there, crush it, stop it,’” said Asghedom.
It’s unclear to what extent that data collected through Laser may have been used to target The Marathon store for eviction in the final year of his life. The city attorney’s office, which was pursuing the eviction, declined to comment.
[LAPD] said, ‘We’re trying to label this as a city ‘nuisance’, and if you don’t sever their lease, we’re going to seize the lot from you’ - Samiel Asghedom
Over the years, they had serious discussions about whether to move the shop elsewhere, where they might face less police harassment. But ultimately, Asghedom said, his brother refused to leave Crenshaw and Slauson.
Read the whole article here.
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