It was one of those you'll-never-see-this-again moments: rappers Snoop Dogg and The Game standing next to Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti in a joint call for peace.
“We are here to show love and support to the police force in Los Angeles and get some understanding and some communication, and we feel like this is a great start,” Snoop said.
The pair of rappers led a march this morning to LAPD headquarters to protest police shootings of African-American men. The two said they didn't know that a recruit graduation ceremony, featuring remarks by Chief Beck, would be happening at the time.
Beck spoke about the most recent deadly shootings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and St. Paul, Minnesota, and about the horror that unfolded in Dallas last night, where five cops were fatally ambushed by a man who “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers,” in the words of Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown.
“We want to stop it from happening here,” Beck said.
The impromptu gathering was sparked in part by an Instagram post by The Game that called on people of color to unite and let the government know they will “no longer allow them to hunt us.” Nor would law enforcement “be hunted by us,” the post stated.
“I think that we need to take responsibility as a human race and accept the role as peace-givers and people that distribute love and change throughout this city,” The Game told reporters and onlookers.
Indeed, Snoop said it wasn't an occasion to “bash the police” but “to come up here and get some dialogue and some communication.''
“We all represent the same cause, and we all want to go home to our families,'' Snoop said. “Today was a first step of many steps.”
Mayor Garcetti said he was surprised by the show of support.
“We just had an extraordinarily powerful meeting, one in which walls came down, boundaries and barriers didn't exist,'' Garcetti said. “And for a moment, we grieved commonly for the lives that had been lost. … If we can, on the streets, say that peace and love is the only way forward — the lives we can save.''
Beck was caught off guard, too.
“It doesn't look like my usual public safety press conference, does it,” he said. “It's not.''
“We are too violent a society,” the chief said. “Violence begets violence. It is time to put down our arms and start the dialogue. We have to go forward from today as human beings, as Americans, as partners. Put aside the things that divide us and come together on the things that bind us — our desire to leave Los Angeles a better place than we found it, our mutual desire to have our kids grow up in a place where they cannot expect violence at every turn.”
-With reporting from City News Service. Photos are courtesy of Najee Ali of Project Islamic Hope.