On October 21, LASA considered justice and injustice in Los Angeles. We started at LAPD’s Hollenbeck Station where we received a tour and the generosity of the officers’ time. Cesar noted that the visit allowed him “to experience what a normal day looks like for the police officers” and also gain “some insight on [the] views and objectives” of the LAPD. Julia found that the day helped her to “recognize the passion and morals that guide the police force more” clearly.
Many LASA students raised questions and concerns directly with the officers, from gun control to policing undocumented communities, to concerns over the militarization of the LAPD. Amira shared, “I’ve never been able to talk to a police officer about issues, concerns, and questions and see their working facility and day to day job experience. It was really unique to hear their point of view and then come back to LASA headquarters and have facts about the unromanticized version of the truth behind incarceration and policing.”
After our visit, we returned to the Huntington for lunch and to welcome UCLA Prof. Kelly Lytle Hernández to talk to us about her recent book City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771–1965. In addition to her book she discussed her current work, Million Dollar Hoods, a digital mapping project that uses law enforcement data to show, as framed by Amira, the “inside scoop” on policing in the county. Cesar noted that the talk helped him better understand the “outcomes that can result from races residing in different geographic regions of the Los Angeles county.”
As the students left for the day with copies of City of Inmates, many shared that this was the most valuable LASA day of the year. For Cesar, considering justice and injustice in L.A. “made me realize that there are many things that do and don’t work together to power the city that I live in.”