A new report by the National Lawyers Guild and the American Civil Liberties Union has found that Los Angeles police, not content to simply kill the people they’ve sworn to protect, also routinely harass their grieving families in the wake of those murders.
According to the Guardian, the report states that the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) routinely follows, arrests, and records without the cause the families of its victims, including at memorials and vigils for the victims of police violence. The families of 18-year-old Paul Rea, shot to death during a traffic stop in 2019, and Anthony Vargas, shot 13 times by police for the crime of returning to his own apartment complex at night after a party, say they have since endured years of harassment after publically protesting the murders.
Rea’s family says that when they laid a cross on his memorial site, the LASD, which has a $3.3 billion dollar budget, used some of that money to fly a helicopter over them and send patrol cars to circle. The officers said they were simply responding to a complaint, but no evidence of that complaint has ever materialized. Vargas’s family in turn says that officers showed up to a tree dedication in his honor and threatened to issue citations to legally parked cars if the family did not stop peacefully planting a tree and then the same officer reportedly followed Vargas’s mother home from another ceremony the following year.
Others have been arrested for things that are supposed to be handled with a citation, such as smoking cannabis, and suspect that the arrest really has to do with the fact that they were publicly angry about the fact that the cops murdered their loved one:
“At a memorial gathering on 30 October 2019, deputies showed up and moved to arrest two of Rea’s friends, directing one of them to put out a blunt he had been smoking, the report recounts. The friend handed the blunt to Jaylene Rea, Paul’s older sister, so he could be handcuffed, and deputies then detained Jaylene Rea, put her in their patrol car and later took her to jail, where she spent the night, later citing her for “obstruction of justice.” She had given a speech that day at a rally, and the family said the arrest was retaliatory.”
The report asks that an independent firm investigate these and other misconduct claims, but I would recommend that LASD be stripped of all that extra money they apparently have lying around that can just be wasted on this evil assholery. Give it to the families of the people they routinely kill.