By Greta Cobar
Once again the LAPD came to Venice to cause problems, this time killing 29 year old Brendon Glenn, who was unarmed. The incident occurred on May 5, around 11:30pm, on Windward, in front of the Townhouse.
The LAPD has not released the video of the incident, and therefore the details of the altercation are sketchy. One witness reported that he got shot as he was trying to reach into his pocket to get his ID, which the cops were asking him for. Another witness said that the first bullet fired ricocheted, hitting the officer’s knee and prompting him to fire again, this time with a fatal shot.
The fact is that Glenn, also known as Dizzle, was shot twice. Apparently Glenn got into an argument with the bouncer at the Townhouse. Somebody called the cops, and officers Clifford Proctor and Jonathan Kawahara arrived and talked to Glenn, after which they let him go and they walked back to their vehicles. According to the cops, Glenn got into a scuffle with somebody else, and they went back to intervene. That intervention led to Glenn ending up dead.
In an unlikely fashion, less than 24 hours after the incident, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck stated that “Any time an unarmed person is shot by a Los Angeles police officer, it takes extraordinary circumstances to justify that, and I have not seen those extraordinary circumstances at this point.”
Beck is referring to the video of the killing, which he had viewed, but has not released to the public. The very next statement that Beck made during that same Wednesday press conference was that the officer who shot Glenn is Black. Beck went on to say that race is irrelevant.
Cops murdering unarmed Black men and getting away with it is, sadly, not news. The chief of police stating that the killing was unwarranted is news. What else is different in this case, compared to all the others? The officer is Black.
The first killing by a Black cop becomes the first reprimand of a cop. Beck is doing nothing but saving his ass and continuing his inconsistent disciplinary actions that play favoritism to his buddies. What Beck is about to do is use the officer who killed Glenn as a scape-goat for his corrupt and unjust police department.
I know, we’ve been eager to see a cop go to jail. But remember that the prison-industrial complex is a horrific money-making scheme that solves nothing. If we are going to use the death of Glenn to make sure that something like it won’t happen again, we need to go way beyond putting another person behind bars.
As the Chief of Venice told me the other day, if we had Venice cityhood, we would have our own police force. And our own Venice police force would not have guns. The only way to stop what has become a routine of unwarranted police murders is to disarm the cops.
Glenn could have easily been Tasered, if he was indeed a threat.
Glenn’s murder brought grief and anger to Venice. The community came together with a memorial in front of the Townhouse, several vigils, a rally and a Town Hall meeting.
The auditorium at Westminster Elementary school has probably never been as packed as it was on May 7, during the Town Hall meeting. The Venice community poured in, alongside the dozens of cops and dozens of mass-media reporters with big, fancy cameras and trucks.
The LAPD tried to appease the public, but made no effort to answer questions or address concerns. Residents waited in a long line to speak on the microphone. As soon as one person was done talking, the next one was prompted to get started, without the cops answering the first person’s questions. When pressed by the public to give a response, we got nothing but usual protocol, such as “the investigation is ongoing.”
Overall the meeting illustrated our residents’ need to be heard. Everyone had something to say, even if it had nothing to do with the killing of Glenn. This is a symptom of Venice residents feeling ignored by the downtown higher-ups.
In true outspoken Venice style, the crowd loudly called the cops murderers and booed when Bonin continued with his BS. There were loud screams asking for the release of the video, which the LAPD is holding on to under the pretense of trying not to interfere with witness statements.
Homelessness was an issue that came up over and over again, as people felt that it was a factor in the killing. Mental health and alcoholism were also mentioned.
What was said at the meeting:
“Do you live in Venice? Where the hell did you come from?”
“Show the video!”
“You are a crook – like the rest of them!”
“We’re not homeless, Venice is our home.”
“It’s not about homelessness, it’s about civil terrorism.”
“We can’t help but influence the world, and we gotta do it the right way.”
“I was two weeks old when the LAPD shot my dad in the back.”
“The video is the witness.”
“You killed the witness!”
“It doesn’t happen to White people, it happens to Black people.”
“There have been 621 police crimes in Los Angeles since 2000. We are the leader in the nation.”
“Re-train yourselves. Whatever you are doing is not right.”
“Don’t throw the hazmat at the homeless.”
“Systematic targeting of Black and Brown people.”
“We are going to see more of this until we stand up and say we don’t accept this kind of murder.”
“Don’t look down on the homeless, you could be one of them.”
“Why are all the officers here carrying guns?”
“Talk first. Taser later. Shoot none.”
“Open the bathrooms!”
“Make the video public.”
“Whom are you protecting and serving?”
“How many police officers were ever prosecuted?”
“Someone has to be killed for you to sit down and talk to us.”
“White people are getting away with probation or nothing at all, while Black and Browns go to jail.”
“Don’t blame just the shooter, blame everyone in this organization – there is a sickness in your organization.”
“Silence is all we get when someone doesn’t get killed.”
“The police is an army of occupation.”
“Those guys will kill you is what I would tell my kids about you.”
“You’re stealing all the money!”
“I want justice!”
“What happened May 5?”
“We need to do more to help the homeless.”
“Police officers are terrified by Black Men.”
Above: LAPD document identifying the two officers who responded to the call – one of them killed Brendon Glenn
Above: LAPD officer who shot and killed Brendon Glenn
Above: Venice graffiti walls, April 11 – covered up by city workers within 24 hours