A new report claims the late rapper Nipsey Hussle and his Marathon clothing store were targeted as part of a controversial LAPD program known as “Operation LASER.”
The LAPD’s LASER (Los Angeles Strategic Extraction and Restoration) program was created to utilize what’s described as “predictive policing technology.”
The now-defunct “secretive” program was launched in 2011 and ended in 2019 after widespread criticism.
In 2020, law professor Andrew Ferguson told CBS News that the LASER program was essentially built on “the metaphor that they were going to, like laser surgery, remove the tumors, the bad actors from the community.” An idea that Ferguson explained was “offensive” in and of itself.
A new report claims that Nipsey’s Marathon Clothing store was targeted as part of LASER’s mission.
Nipsey’s brother Samiel Asghedom told The Guardian that the police’s goal was to “shut it down” even though “positive things” were happening at the shop. “The agenda was, ‘Whatever they’re doing over there, crush it. Stop it,’” Asghedom said.
“We were selling shirts, socks, clothing, and shoes across the street from the Louisiana Fried Chicken,” Asghedom said. “They would come and arrest us, cuff us, and take all of our stuff. We would be looking up as all of that happened like ‘Damn, we just lost thousands of dollars of merchandise. Y’all not doing this to nobody else.’ We trying to be legit…Their whole goal was just to shut us down. Even though positive things were happening in the store.”
The harassment was also said to have impacted consumers, in one incident customers who happened to be off-duty cops, were allegedly stopped and questioned. Asghedom claimed police interest deterred some fans from visiting the Slauson avenue store.
The LAPD allegedly used technology to predict crimes and they even attempted to pressure the landlords of the property where the Marathon Clothing Flagship store was located to evict Nipsey.
An LAPD spokesperson claimed the program was discontinued because the policing data it relied on needed to be reassessed, “We discontinued LASER because we went to reassess the data, the rep told the Los Angeles Times back in 2019. “It was inconsistent. We’re pulling back.”