The controversial death of two black men — Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minneapolis, Minnesota — thousands of miles away at the hands of police officers have resonated with some Los Angeles residents.
"They're all combined, like a spoke on a tire," says activist Najee Ali. "So anytime someone is shot and killed in a confrontational, controversial shooting, whether it be Minnesota or Baton Rouge, South L.A. feels and identifies with their pain and anguish."
Ali, the director of Project Islamic Hope, organized a meeting and rally for Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. in South L.A. at the National Action Network headquarters.
Speakers at the rally include Rev. K.W Tulloss, president of the National Action Network Los Angeles; Pastor William Smart, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California; and leaders from the NAACP.
"Everyone's outraged. The murder of both men ... has caused outrage with the local community in South L.A. primarily because we have had a problematic relationship with LAPD historically," Ali says.
He linked the deaths of Sterling and Castile to the deaths of two local men who were killed by law enforcement officers:
- Ezell Ford, an unarmed mentally ill black man, who died of several gunshot wounds during an "administrative stop" in the Florence neighborhood of South L.A. in 2014.
- Brendon Glenn, homeless and also unarmed, was shot and killed in Venice in 2015. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, in a rare move, recommended criminal charges be filed against the officer.
Ali says he wants to offer people an opportunity to voice their anger and frustration, "not destructively but constructively. And we want to have a plan of action as we move forward to put pressure on DA Jackie Lacey to file criminal charges against the officer who shot and killed Brendon Glenn."