The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Los Angeles:
Authorities Whitewash Another Police Killing

Aug 1, 2016

On July 12, the Los Angeles Police Commission announced that the killing of Redel Jones “did not violate” LAPD policies.

LAPD officer Brett Ramirez shot and killed the 30-year-old Jones in an alley in August 2015. Ramirez and his partner claimed Jones matched the description of a robbery suspect–a woman who had robbed a nearby pharmacy at knife-point of $80. The cops said Jones ran away from them when they ordered her to stop–and wouldn’t you, given what has been happening? People who do stop are shot anyway.

Ramirez said that when he ran after her, Jones (who was 4 foot 10) turned around and charged him with a knife, and that was when he shot her.

A witness, however, contradicted the cops’ account of the shooting. Courtyana Franklin told the Los Angeles Times that she did not see Jones turning around and moving toward the cops. “I do know for a fact that she was not charging them,” Franklin told the Times. But the written statement of the Police Commission did not even mention that the LAPD had interviewed Franklin.

People in the audience reacted to the commission’s decision with anger. Later that day, hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the LAPD headquarters and City Hall, linking the shooting of Jones with other police shootings of black people across the country.

The sense of loss–the hemorrhage of lives in black communities–was what Marcus Vaughn, Redel Jones’s husband, expressed in his statement before the Police Commission. Vaughn said Jones was the one who found shelters and hotels for the couple and their children when the family struggled. Jones was resourceful and intelligent, he said: “She taught me everything that I know ... Redel was always the one who found a way so that we would make a way for each other.”