The leadership of the Oscar Joel Bryant Foundation (OJB) expressed outrage over the cover of the May 2019 LAPPL’s Thin Blue Magazine which depicts bullets flying in South Los Angeles. Well, bullets are flying and what the LAPPL is outraged over is the ever-increasing victimization of black and brown Angelenos, specifically in South Los Angeles. Bullets are flying, people are getting shot and killed and no one seems to care. Where is the outrage over lives lost and families destroyed?
We think it’s wrong to stay quiet when shootings increased 135 percent in LAPD’s South Bureau between mid-February and mid-April, compared to the beginning of the year. We think it’s wrong to let anti-police groups like the ACLU be allowed to call our officers racist, and then demand that our City leaders pull all Metropolitan Division officers out of South Los Angeles regardless of the fact that gun violence is rising in the very neighborhoods the Metropolitan Division is protecting.
Ask yourself, who is it that’s dying? According to the LAPD’s 2017 Homicide report, 89 percent of Los Angeles homicide victims were black or Hispanic. South Bureau, which protects South Los Angeles, accounted for over 41 percent of the citywide homicides. In 77th Division of the South Bureau, 87 percent of the homicides were gang-related.
If it takes a picture for the leadership of OJB to get focused on the rise in gun violence that is happening in our community, then good, we succeeded. It is exactly why we called out the ACLU for its dangerous rhetoric, it’s why we directly informed the residents of South Los Angeles about the ACLU’s dangerous proposals, and it’s why we sent residents a survey so that they could express their opinion about whether they wanted fewer officers in their neighborhoods. We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response from residents.
And we know that police resources cannot be the only solution. That’s why this year the LAPPL adopted as part of its legislative priorities in Sacramento advocating for education, economic and employment opportunities in underserved communities and those disproportionally impacted by crime.
Yes, we intended for the cover of the Blue Line magazine to spur conversation. Same goes for the content inside the magazine, which OJB failed to discuss with its members, but provides an update on our advocacy for police resources in South Los Angeles. You can be mad, angry, or disappointed about a magazine cover, but please, please, that anger and disappointment should pale in comparison to how you should feel about the bloodshed that is on the rise in South Los Angeles.
This week, a 5-year old innocent young girl was among four shooting victims near Vermont Street Park in South Los Angeles on a Tuesday evening. We have not heard one utterance of outrage over that from anyone.
The LAPPL will continue to focus on what matters most: people. We will continue to stand up for crime victims and the hardworking residents of Los Angeles. We will always advocate for the resources necessary to help keep neighborhoods safe. We’d hope that the leadership of organizations such as OJB would join us in making progress on those priorities.