A gravesite ceremony will be held Saturday to honor the memory of Los Angeles police Officer Oscar Joel Bryant, who died in the line of duty a half century ago and became the first black officer to receive the department’s Medal of Valor.
Among those expected to attend the 11 a.m. memorial at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Cemetery are members of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Command staff and members of Bryant’s family.
Bryant was fatally wounded on May 13, 1968.
The Oscar Joel Bryant Foundation was founded later that year “to empower, mentor and encourage African Americans in their entirety,” according to the foundation’s website.
According to the foundation, Bryant, working a one-person unit, responded to a radio call of a robbery in progress at a dress shop on Western Avenue on the final day of his life.
“The first officer to respond to the scene, Officer Bryant requested back-up and single-handedly confronted three suspects. Without warning, one of the suspects drew a concealed weapon and fired upon Officer Bryant. Although mortally wounded, Officer Bryant continued to exchange gunfire and prevented the escape of the three suspects who were later apprehended by responding officers,” the foundation reported.
Bryant was the first black officer to receive the department’s Medal of Valor, according to the Los Angeles Police Protective League.