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‘They will try to divide us’: Protesters demand real accountability for police, prosecutors

A shell casing serves as a vase for flowers amid a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown L.A.
A shell casing serves as a vase for flowers on the sidewalk outside the L.A. County Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday amid a Black Lives Matter protest.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

In the shadow of the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles, hundreds of Angelenos gathered Wednesday in the sweltering heat to decry the practices of law enforcement.

The families of victims from officer-involved shootings spoke of losing loved ones as protesters shouted, “Say their name.”

Diana Hernandez described how her brother, Daniel, was shot and killed, and said more needs to be done to investigate his death.

“Our family is devastated by the policies of LAPD,” she said.

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Lacey, who is locked in a runoff for reelection, has come under fire for not prosecuting more police officers for misconduct.

Speakers said that the energy of this moment shouldn’t wane and that politicians like Los Angeles Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey and President Trump needed to be voted out of office.

“Jackie Lacey must go. Jackie Lacey must go,” the crowd chanted. “We need to show the next D.A. we mean business,” one speaker said.

Another chant went up: “Prosecute killer cops. Prosecute killer cops.”

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Lacey has become a major target of the Black Lives Matter movement, with activists saying she has not done enough to prosecute officers accused of misconduct.

She is facing a tough runoff against George Gascon, who has also slammed her record on criminal justice reform. Lacey has strongly defended her record on police oversight, and this week filed charges against an LAPD officer seen on videotape repeatedly punching an unarmed homeless man in Boyle Heights.

The father of Grechario Mack described the circumstances surrounding his son’s killing — how Mack was shot by the LAPD when he was already on the ground. Despite his sadness, he was proud to see this movement grow in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

“My son was not a danger. The police were a danger,” Quintus Moore said. “If it wasn’t for these phones and social media, they would be getting away with much more.

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“They [police] lie over and over and over. We can’t breath. It’s time for us to breathe.”

The protest Wednesday was ostensibly about calling for reducing policing budgets and increasing money for social services. Still, speakers and protesters understood these gatherings have a broader purpose.

Activist Janaya “Future” Khan spoke about how opponents of the Black Lives Movement would try to sow division between the various races and ethnicities who are participating. Besides Black people, there were representatives of indigenous people and others who felt wronged by law enforcement in Los Angeles.

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“They will try to divide us,” Khan said. “They will try to use our pain against each other because that’s what the colonial project does. They said that the focus must remain on undoing a system that’s been unjust to minorities and benefited white people.”


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