Rappers Snoop Dogg and The Game led a peaceful demonstration Friday outside a Los Angeles Police Department recruit graduation in what they called an effort to promote unity in the aftermath of the deadly shootings of police officers in Dallas.
Several dozen people joined the rappers outside police headquarters in downtown Los Angeles where the graduation ceremony was held, featuring Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck as speakers.
After the ceremony, the rappers met with Garcetti and Beck privately.
“If you are a human being and you have ears and eyes to see, this is a day of change,” The Game said during an impromptu news conference inside police headquarters following the meeting.
“I think that we need to take responsibility as a human race and accept the role as peace-givers and people that distribute love and change throughout this city,” he said, adding that he believes Los Angeles can be a “flagship” for cities everywhere, and a showing of peace and unity here will resonate around the world.
“I know that together we can unify Los Angeles,” he said.
The Game and Snoop Dogg both said they were unaware there was an LAPD recruit graduation scheduled this morning, and they only planned to gather at police headquarters in a show of unity. But the ceremony made the gathering more pointed, as a sign of building relationships with officers as they prepare to go on duty for the first time.
“This is even better because now these students that are about to hit the streets can know that there is some sort of dialogue going on and they don’t have to be fearful,” Snoop Dogg said. “And they can do their jobs and know that when you stop somebody you’re a conversation away from sending them home or taking them to jail, but the conversation is key.”
Snoop Dogg said the idea behind the gathering outside police headquarters was “not to bash the police but to come up here and get some dialogue and some communication.”
“We all represent the same cause and we all want to go home to our families,” he said. “Today was a first step of many steps. We are here to show love and support to the police force in Los Angeles and get some understanding and communication, and we feel like this is a great start.”
Garcetti, flanked by The Game and Snoop Dogg, called the gathering a powerful event.
“Chief, mayor, (police) commission president, superstars; whoever it is around us,” Garcetti said. “We lose those titles for a moment, (and) try to remind ourselves of the pain that we feel, (and) the events that we’ve seen this week.
“We just had an extraordinarily powerful meeting, one in which walls came down, boundaries and barriers didn’t exist,” Garcetti said. “And for a moment, we grieved commonly for the lives that had been lost … If we can, on the streets, say that peace and love is the only way forward — the lives we can save.”
The impromptu news conference was held in an LAPD media room that was crowded with camera crews, still photographers and broadcast and print reporters.
A somber Beck, standing alongside Garcetti, The Game and Snoop Dogg, told the gathering: “It doesn’t look like my usual public safety press conference does it? It’s not.”
“We are too violent a society. Violence begets violence. It is time to put down our arms and start the dialogue. We have to go forward from today as human beings, as Americans, as partners. Put aside the things that divide us and come together on the things that bind us — our desire to leave Los Angeles a better place than we found it, our mutual desire to have our kids grow up in a place where they cannot expect violence at every turn.
“I couldn’t be prouder to stand in front of you today and say we are on that path in Los Angeles, but it’s going to take everybody,” Beck said. “It’s going to take leadership and it’s going to take hard work.”
Beck said that when he heard about the shooting in Dallas, his first reaction was of anger; but his feelings quickly turned to a concern for his own community.
“We want to stop it from happening here,” Beck said. “We all have to recognize (that) we don’t have to watch this happen over and over.”
The Game described his feelings when he heard about the shooting in Dallas.
“When I woke up this morning, I was just, I was uneasy, I was saddened, I was angered, I had so many different emotions flowing through my body that I didn’t know which way to turn or which way to go,” he said.
“So, I called on a dear friend of mine (Snoop Dogg) — somebody that I look up to, somebody that empowers everything that I wish to empower in the future,” he said.
Snoop Dog thanked Beck and Garcetti “for allowing us to even come behind closed doors and hold a conversation with them.”
“Our whole mission today was to move in peace, and to show that L.A. can be unified, and not to bash the police but to come up here and get some dialogue and communication,” he said.
Beck echoed those sentiments.
“It’s gotta be about dialogue,” Beck said.
Garcetti said similar dialogues with community members will be held in the future.
Snoop Dogg told reporters earlier outside LAPD headquarters he wanted to ensure that rookie officers — like those who graduated Friday — “know who they’re dealing with.”
“A lot of times these officers hit the streets in communities where they have never encountered a gang member or someone who had a different kind of background,” he told KNX Newsradio. “Today it’s a bunch of guys up here who come from those communities who want to show them we’re cool, we’re peaceful. We’re here in love.”
He said the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department does a better job of training its deputies for work on the streets, because they generally begin working in the county jail.
By contrast, LAPD officers are often sent into gang-plagued neighborhoods straight out of the academy.
“They’re scared, they’re nervous, and when they encounter someone, they automatically feel they must use violence as opposed to communication,” he said.
—City News Service
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