May 23, 2005
Shortly before midnight on Mothers' Day, a working-class neighborhood in Compton, south of Los Angeles, rattled with a 120-round fusillade. The bullets, many of which ended up in surrounding houses, came from the guns of ten sheriff's deputies. The rampage left two people wounded and several homes riddled with bullet holes. The terrified residents said it was a miracle that no one was killed.
The shots were apparently aimed at Winston Hayes, who lives in the neighborhood. The cops claimed that they wanted to stop Hayes' SUV because he had fired shots – which is obviously not true because Hayes was unarmed. After a low-speed chase, Hayes pulled onto the lawn of a house, and the deputies started to empty their guns on his car. Four of the bullets hit Hayes, who was lucky to survive. The deputies also hit one of their own, who suffered a minor wound. The rest sprayed throughout the neighborhood, just like any other drive-by shooting.
The deputies' total disregard for the people living in the neighborhood is nothing new. Within the last three years, at least four other incidents have been reported in which sheriff's deputies fired a total of 60 rounds or more. In one of these incidents in March 2004, the deputies shot and wounded a roofer.
All of these incidents happened in poor, working-class neighborhoods. And authorities treated these shooting orgies by cops the way they treat most crimes in working-class neighborhoods: they ignored them.
Is it any wonder that the people in these neighborhoods call the cops "the biggest gang in town"?