Clergy march to LAPD headquarters, City Hall to protest skid row killing


On April 8, group of local Jewish and African-American leaders spotlighted the increase in police-involved deadly shootings in areas such as Skid Row during a press conference outside the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) headquarters.

“We wanted to reinforce that the Jewish community is standing together with the black community on this issue,” Rabbi Aryeh Cohen, a board member at Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice-Los Angeles (CLUE-LA), told the Journal in an interview.

He, along with members of the Black-Jewish Justice Alliance, a program of community organizing groups CLUE-LA and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, participated. Prompted by the May 1 killing in Skid Row of Charly “Africa” Leundeu Keunang, an unarmed black man, as well as the policing methods toward the homeless of the area, according to press materials. 

Rabbi Jonathan Klein, executive director at CLUE-LA; Rabbi Heather Miller, a rabbinic fellow at Beth Chayim Chadashim and b’nai mitzvah educator at Temple Israel of Hollywood; and Temple Beth Hillel of North Hollywood Rabbi Emeritus Jim Kaufman also attended.

The event took place to coincide with the fifth day of Passover.

The group staged a press conference at 10 a.m. outside the LAPD headquarters at Main street and 1st. Afterward, armed with jars of bitter herbs and charoset, they marched into LAPD headquarters and  into Los Angeles City Hall to deliver letters addressed to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. They gave the letters and the Passover foods to LAPD Detective Meghan Aguilar and Garcetti Westside Representative Daniel Tamm. Beck and Garcetti were not available to meet with the group.

“We demand that there be an independent prosecutor appointed to investigate all cases of police-involved shootings,” the letters read.

After the press conference, Cohen poured Clamato juice, a tomato juice meant to resemble blood – representing one of the Ten Plagues — into a hedge outside the LAPD headquarters. This was to symbolize bloodshed, he said.

“It’s all bound together,” Cohen told the Journal. “The message of Passover is that liberation is an unfolding story. As deep as it is, there’s more liberation that has to be done.”

Additional participants were Reverend Cue Jn-marie of The Row LA, Pete White, director of the Los Angeles Community Action Network and Pastor William D. Smart of the Christ Liberation Ministries.