Thursday, July 29, 2021
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Simple as Brown vs. Black

LAPD chief denies what others see as clear cases of racial violence

By Annette Stark

The heart-wrenching L.A. Times cover photo of Jamiel Shaw in an open coffin drew angry protests last week from readers who bitterly complained to the Times that its decision to run such a graphic image was “disrespectful” and “disgusting.” One woman, who wrote that she’s the parent of a high school boy who is – as Shaw was – “an athlete with good grades,” glanced at the cover lying in her driveway and flatly refused to bring the paper into her house. The tragedy just hit too close to home.

The Times later clarified that the photos were – as in every case with their funeral coverage – in keeping the family’s wishes. The photo also showed parents Anita and Jamiel Shaw Sr., dressed in white, praying by the casket of their slain son, the 17-year-old star athlete gunned down in broad daylight on the sidewalk by gang members simply because he didn’t answer fast enough that he wasn’t in a gang. The families who have lost children to gang attacks on innocents have shown exemplary strength in the wake of unspeakable horror. They’ve appeared at rallies, press conferences, and as ambassadors for campaigns to silence the violence. And here it was again, with the Shaws asking for the uncensored truth, as sometimes only a photo can.

But in the aftermath of recent shootings that have left four children killed or wounded in two weeks, activists struggling for the LAPD to address the hard stuff are finding that uncensored truth isn’t just tough to come by, it’s become a raging controversy of its own.


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