Monday, June 28, 2004

Pick CD of the Day.

Get Jadakiss's "Kiss of Death" at Amazon!
Baller Status review
Hip Hop DX review
Boxden message board thread on album
Police Brutality

I've been hearing about this police brutality incident in Los Angeles. The following is an article on the relationship between the black community and the police in LA due to the incident.
I got this off the LA Times.

Beating of Black Suspect Puts Bratton's Race Inroads to Test
By Jill Leovy
Times Staff Writer

June 28, 2004

The televised police beating of a black suspected car thief last week will test two years of efforts by LAPD Chief William J. Bratton to win over the city's African Americans.

But it also strikes at Bratton's deeper and more ambitious agenda: fixing America's race problem by fixing its crime problem.

"What is it that keeps this country so on edge?" asked Bratton. "It's race."

Putting his theories on race relations into practice is one of the reasons he came to the Los Angeles Police Department, Bratton said. He sees race and crime as "two seemingly intractable problems in American society, inextricably linked."

Since taking the job in the fall of 2002, the chief has attended barbecues and basketball games in black neighborhoods and held meetings in church basements. He has talked with unusual bluntness about such painful issues as black-on-black crime, and historic mistreatment of African Americans by police.

Many black community leaders — overcoming wariness and ambivalence — have answered Bratton's call, often at considerable political risk.

They gambled on the sincerity of a white police chief from the East Coast. Now, in the wake of Wednesday's beating of Stanley Miller, many of these leaders stand in an uneasy truce with the LAPD, waiting to see whether their trust was misplaced.

"Black leaders have really put themselves out on a limb with Bratton," said the Rev. Norman Johnson, executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Los Angeles chapter. "To the degree that he demonstrates toughness in holding a line with his officers, he will justify the commitment that has been made. If it turns out that it's the same old rhetoric, then we will feel betrayed."

Miller was tackled by LAPD officers after a 28-minute car chase and was then hit 11 times by a flashlight-wielding Latino officer, John J. Hatfield, as cameras rolled. The incident has prompted an investigation, and on Saturday, Bratton announced that he would review the LAPD's policy on use of flashlights.

The beating is a pivotal moment for Bratton — not just for his leadership, but in his personal goals. Although he is famed for his bold promises on crime — L.A. homicides fell sharply in his first year, as he predicted — true success for Bratton means being seen as a progressive on race.

Bratton believes that Los Angeles is a crucial testing ground. Although Latinos are a growing majority and African Americans are now just 11% of the population, the city is still trying to overcome its historic white-black tensions, he said.

Read the rest at The LA Times (registration required)

Gang Culture

The following I took from an intersting article about gang culutre in North VA. In DC its a similar case from what I observe of the Latino gang culture: especially the LA influence.

Hayner told his parents that the teachers were picking on him because he was Hispanic. His parents wondered whether he was right. Unable to speak English and with little education themselves -- Hernandez is illiterate -- they tuned in to America through the big TV in their living room, where Spanish-language programs mentioned such discrimination. And as a cleaning woman at a school, Maria Isabel had had plenty of teachers look right through her.

Flores gradually assumed a new identity. He donned the Dickies twill work pants favored by his MS-13 friends, and looped a plastic rosary around his neck, acquaintances said. He shaved his head. Tattoos climbed his arms -- a rose, praying hands, the number 13. Like most gang members, he was known by his nickname: Spike.

If Hayner had sometimes been lonely, Spike was never alone. Mara Salvatrucha -- which means "Salvadoran Gang" in Spanish -- is believed to have about 3,500 members in this area, a multinational band of Salvadorans and Hondurans and Mexicans and Nicaraguans and Bolivians, immigrants and the children of immigrants, police said. They are as young as 9 and as old as 35.

"It's like they're a very united family," said one teenage friend, who declined to give her name for fear her parents would punish her for associating with Flores.

Flores floated from one friend's house to another, at one point moving to an apartment on Edsall Road down the street from where paramedics would discover the machete victim, one friend said.

But MS-13 was more than a surrogate family. The group has been associated with violence since its founding in Los Angeles in the 1980s. Young men who had fled El Salvador's civil war banded together at that time to protect themselves from Mexican American and African American gangs. MS-13 later expanded to the East Coast and back to Central America.

In the Washington area, the gang's followers are initiated by being beaten up by other members, police and Flores' friends said. And the gang requires members to take part in vicious attacks, on rivals and on members who violate its rules.

"It's a group mentality. Some of the kids doing it might not be that violent," said Clausen, the former principal. But the gang "doesn't leave them much choice sometimes."

Gradually, Flores' world divided in two: his gang vs. others. He no longer could stay with his parents because rival gang members lived nearby, he told his parents. Trejo recalled driving Flores and a friend to a soccer field one day. Flores suddenly asked whether anyone had a long-sleeve T-shirt. They didn't.

Read the rest in the Washington Post.

Shaq is selling his house for $7.5 million. He can't rap, but he's got it made! The following taken from the LA Times.

Shaquille O'Neal, who has expressed a desire to be traded since the Lakers lost in the NBA Finals this month, and his wife, Shaunie, are putting their home in a gated community in the Beverly Hills area on the market at $7.5 million.

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