Justice for Terry Laffitte! – Murdered by LA County Sheriffs
Jail the Killer Cops! A Badge is Not a License to Kill!
Release the Officers’ Names to the Public NOW!
Stop the Police Cover-Up of Terry’s Murder!
Education, Jobs, and Opportunities – Not Police Murder and Terror
Stop the Reconstitution and Division of Crenshaw High School
Guarantee All Special Ed and ESL (English as a Second Language) students and teachers the right to stay at Crenshaw next year.
SATURDAY, June 8 at 2:00pm
Gather at the site of Terry’s murder to march (6102 Miramonte Ave.)
For more information contact By Any Means Necessary (BAMN): 323-317-7675 www.bamn.com
On May 25th 2013 family, friends, and community supporters held a speak-out and nighttime march from the family’s home to the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department on Alameda and Imperial to demand the names of and the jailing of the two LA County Sheriffs who murdered unarmed father, uncle, and brother, Terry Laffitte. Before marching, we all voted unanimously on three demands:
Jail the killer cops who murdered Terry Laffitte
- Release the names of those cops
- End the police cover-up
The police in the unincorporated section of South Central LA where the family of Terry Laffitte lives like to say that they own these streets. But the night we marched for Justice for Terry Laffitte, we took over those streets and made them ours, from the oldest great grandparents to the youngest children. We walked for five miles and took over the street. The youngest children led the first half of the march while our own squad of marchers’ cars followed, some marchers on the hoods of cars or hanging out the windows waving signs. The littlest children who had witnessed this attack marched angry and proud, smiling from ear to ear, proudly standing up for their uncle and friend, remembering him the best way they could. For them, simply mourning the loss of a family member to this vicious act of brutality was not enough, they needed to act. Loud honking and determined community support greeted us the whole way. Despite the late arrival of at least a dozen police squad cars and police helicopter sirens, horns and loudspeakers blaring deafeningly, they could not stop us. The police power was impotent in the face of our boldness. In Los Angeles we stand up against racist police brutality – whether that’s 1992 with Rodney King or today, and today we must fight until we get justice for Terry Laffitte. This brutality happens too much too often, we’ve had enough, we will not be denied.
How the Police Murdered Terry Laffitte
Terry Laffitte or “SugarBear” as he was known to his family and loved ones, was murdered in the dark of night at the bottom of the back steps of his own home by two Los Angeles County Sheriffs. He leaves behind many family members including three daughters, the youngest, Tyzhane Laffitte, who is in the tenth grade at Crenshaw High School.
Terry Laffitte was followed home by sheriffs who claim that they were trying to pull him over for not having rear reflectors on the back of his bicycle. They followed him into his backyard, and grabbed Laffitte by the front of his shirt as he turned around and asked why they were bothering him. The sheriffs then violently pulled him down his backstairs to the ground. Laffitte was not armed and was not resisting the officers while he lay on his stomach with his arms behind him. One of the officers sat on him and beat him on the back of the head with a flashlight while the other choked him. When Sandra Cotton, Laffitte’s pregnant sister, tried to videotape the beating and demanded the police stop hurting her brother, one of the officers who was choking Laffitte kicked her in the stomach, pulled his gun out, and pointed it in her face, and yelled, “Do that again and I’ll **** shoot you in the face.” Sandra could not bear to move while her brother was getting brutalized and courageously said “Well I guess that’s what you’re going to have to do then.” Sandra’s daughters, fearing she would be shot, grabbed their mother into the house. The officers also beat Laffitte’s nephew who’d gone to the backyard to see what was happening to his uncle. Laffitte begged his nephew to take care of his bike, his main form of transportation and his prized possession. When Laffitte’s nephew righted the bike and stood it up with the kickstand, the police punched him and made him lay on the ground while they continued to beat his uncle. Laffitte’s niece heard Terry’s last, strangled words through his gasps for air while being choked: “I’m not resisting arrest, I can’t breathe.” Then in cold blood, working in tandem with the first cop who threatened to shoot Terry’s sister, the second cop who was sitting on Terry’s legs executed Terry Laffitte, shooting him twice, once at close range in the back of the head. Of the 12 people at the house at the time, most were women and children under 25 years old. Five were under 6 years old.
Immediately after murdering Terry, the LA County Sheriffs began their cover-up. They brought multiple squad cars to the house, some came into the house in a hurry while some shouted, “Get the *** cell phones!” They took as many cell phones as they could. One of the female Sheriffs whose badge name was Sanchez confiscated a cell phone from a child. One of Terry’s nieces ran out of the house shouting, “They killed my uncle!” The cops who had arrived took her to the ground and cuffed her. They arrested all the adults in the house without any charges, and called CPS to remove all the children. They sealed off the house and the entire block for seven hours to set up their campaign of lies and slander. Neighbors who tried to return home that night were blocked by the police, including families with little children, left unable to access their apartments to use the bathroom or sleep. Others said that the police stood in the backyard around Terry’s dead body for hours, joking and laughing and trying to obstruct the view of what the police were doing. Police also questioned neighbors about whether they had cameras or video footage they could confiscate.
A badge is not a license to kill. No cop has the right to take a life simply because they wear a uniform. We must get the names of the murderous cops and put them jail. We must break the power of the police in LA to harass, intimidate, or hunt down and kill residents in our community. The people of LA have a right to learn the names of the killer cops—we must have the ability to share the stories with each other about who these killers are and we can build a case against them and jail them. If a black or Latina/o person did what these cops did to any cop we would not only be jailed or sentenced to death, our names would be condemned across America on every news station. But these cops are free to enjoy the company of their loved ones and walk the streets with that ridiculous looking “I’m the boss” walk that cops do. They must be stripped of their freedom the same way any of us would be given the same offense. The LA County Sheriff’s Department must not get away with hiding away and covering for these murderers. Release the names of the killer cops and jail them now!
Jobs, Education, and Opportunities – Not Police Murder and Terror
The people of South Central need jobs, education, and opportunities–not police murder and terror. We all have the right to aspire for more and better. We are tired of the brutality and cruel indifference to the needs of our communities. This year at the South Central’s Crenshaw High School, the district is attempting to force the Special Ed students and ESL (English as a second language) students out of their school along with over half the teaching staff, and divide their integrated student population into three schools. Crenshaw HS is an important place that provides the most stability that many of the students have in their lives. It helps give our community the strength it needs to stand up to the second-class treatment we receive daily in our city. It is a model of integration for South Central, education for all student in the community, whether black or Latina/o, newly arrived to America from Mexico or other countries, Special Education students, all proud to say they attend LA’s last “black” high school. We must make this fight for Terry and to defend what is strongest about South Central, our community, our home.
The powers that be stupidly think that they can get away with the murder of Terry Laffitte and also try to destroy Crenshaw and our opportunities. The purpose of police murder and brutality is to terrorize the black and Latina/o people of LA into accepting limited expectations. By making this fight we can say NO MORE! Making this fight for Terry can not only win justice for him but can uplift Crenshaw and all the students at that school who have had to fight every day of their lives for their dignity and the right to a quality education. This fight has the power to open up the possibility of finally beginning to address all the racist second-class treatment and deprivation of our communities. We can win more opportunities for everyone, we can improve our schools. We will march again. And if we were loud and powerful the last time, we will be more this time. We will win justice for Terry, By Any Means Necessary.