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Watchdogs Demand More Accountability for Inglewood Police

Los Angeles WAVE, News Report, Olu Alemoru Posted: Jun 11, 2009

Residents and activists have demanded that the City Council increase accountability over the police department in the wake of the shooting death of Marcus Smith.

Last week, during the first regular council meeting since the May 24 killing of the 31-year-old father of three, a number of local citizens from a group called Families for Community Safety used the public comments period to express their concerns. The move came as it was revealed by activist commentator Earl Ofari Hutchinson that Smith was buried June 1 in a private ceremony.

Activists laid out six basic demands, including: giving the citys Police Oversight Commission the power to determine discipline for officers and coordinate and initiate investigations concerning police shootings; providing families with financial assistance to bury loved ones killed by Inglewood Police officers; and passage of council resolutions supporting both the repeal of the California Police Bill of Rights, and a call for the district attorney to take a more aggressive stance toward prosecuting police officers who use unjustifiable deadly force.

We will be a continued presence here until we get these things in place, said organizer Kokayi Kwa Jitahidi. Theres an incredible amount of wasted human hours investigating and settling these cases in court.

James P. DeMaegt, a local attorney and vocal critic of the Oversight Commission, accused the police of being out of control and said the council is doing nothing to stop it. The police are doing their job efficiently and its racial and economic, claimed DeMaegt. They are beating, shooting and hitting innocent people, mainly African-Americans and Latinos, and the council are using lame, baloney language to cover it up.

However, Mayor Roosevelt Dorn strongly rejected that argument.

Does anyone really believe we dont care about the shootings? The council has done substantial things and we want it stopped immediately, he said. [Ive said] we welcome the investigation by the Justice Department and will wait and see the report.

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