Crime & Justice

Police killings prompt rappers to organize for peace

Rappers The Game, left, and Snoop Dogg, center, appear at a peaceful unification march outside of the graduation ceremony for the latest class of Los Angeles Police recruits in Los Angeles, Friday, July 8, 2016. Snoop shook hands with police officials and told reporters he hoped his presence would help reintroduce the black community to the Police Department and open a dialogue. The gathering comes a day after the shooting deaths of multiple police officers in Dallas on Thursday night.
Rappers The Game, left, and Snoop Dogg, center, appear at a peaceful unification march outside of the graduation ceremony for the latest class of Los Angeles Police recruits in Los Angeles, Friday, July 8, 2016. Snoop shook hands with police officials and told reporters he hoped his presence would help reintroduce the black community to the Police Department and open a dialogue. The gathering comes a day after the shooting deaths of multiple police officers in Dallas on Thursday night.
RIchard Vogel/AP

L.A.-area rappers Snoop Dogg and The Game organized a rally in front of LAPD headquarters Friday morning to protest the police killings of two black men by officers in Louisiana and Minnesota.

The rally had been organized before the killing of five police officers in Dallas on Thursday by a black man whom authorities say wanted to kill cops.

The week of bloodshed hung heavy on the minds of demonstrators, including Snoop Dogg who said the rash of shootings underscored the need to stop all violence in all sides.

"Our whole mission today was to move in peace and to show L.A. can be unified," Snoop Dogg said at a press conference with L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck after the rally that drew about 75 people.

The Game's manager, Cash Jones, said the message of peace became more urgent in the light of the killing of officers in Dallas. 

“We all depend on them,” Jones said. “Hopefully nobody else picks up a firearm and attacks police officers in that manner, because it’s not going to get us nowhere.”

Jones hopes to see an end to violence in black neighborhoods – both from deadly police force and killings fueled by entrenched gang rivalries.  He wore a shirt with a target on the back and the initials HUNT on the front, standing for “hunt us not today.”  

Protestors feared escalating tensions between the black community and police would bring back the fraught race relations of the '90s that reached a pinnacle with the beating of Rodney King.

“We are on the tipping point,” said Richard Nevels, a self-described social media influencer.

But, Friday morning, Jones pointed out that members of the rival Crips and the Bloods gangs stood shoulder to shoulder, a crowd of red and blue caps.   

“Out here, I got people I was in prison with, people I used to go to war with,” he said. “We, at one time would have been the problem, now we are coming together to fix the problem.”

Snoop Dogg and The Game are the latest artists to use their celebrity to speak out against police violence against black men. 

LAPD Police Commission President Matt Johnson said he appreciated the rappers' call for peace and called their influence "incredibly helpful."

"They speak to a lot of people. They have a lot of credibility," Johnson said.