By Spencer Kellogg | United States
On Thursday, over a hundred of AJ Weber’s friends and family packed an emergency town hall meeting in southside Los Angeles demanding answers from the LA Police Department regarding the shooting death of Weber on Super Bowl Sunday.
AJ, the father to a 9-month-old baby and one of 10 children to Marine Corps veteran and small business entrepreneur John Weber, appears to be the victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and being black.
On Monday the LA Sherrif Department played the 911 audio call that had suggested there was a black male pointing a gun at passerbys at the 1200 block of 107th Street. The call was made by an unidentified male and the police department transposed his voice to hide the person’s identity.
30 minutes later a teenager would lay in a pool of his own blood after deputies fired a staggering 10 bullets into the unarmed teen’s chest.
Community members demanded answers from the LA Police department:
Brother of #AnthonyWeber (the unarmed 16-year-old that was killed by LASD a few days ago) asked Capt. Christopher Bergner of @LASDHQ Homicide Bureau a question at tonight's Town Hall and was answered with this disgusting response… pic.twitter.com/XpUdrt1Mxv
— Dignity & Power Now (@PowerDignity) February 8, 2018
As we have seen in countless state-sanctioned murders of black men over the past few decades, cops were eager to ask questions later. When they found Mr. Weber in the courtyard of an apartment complex, two officers say that Weber reached for a gun before they ended his life in a flurry of bullets.
Officers were not wearing body cams or audio devices and when they found no weapon on Weber were quick to suggest that it was taken by a member of the 50 person group that gathered at the crime scene in the moments after.
Now playback the story and imagine if this was a white teenager in Beverly Hills. Imagine that the LA Police Department received the same call and proceeded to profile a white male of their choosing to pursue. Imagine they sunk 10 bullets into his little pale frame and in the aftermath blamed the lack of evidence on a group of white men and women who gathered and wanted to know why a murder had been committed. Imagine a white family torn apart in the span of 15 minutes by trigger happy “police” and think of the outrage from white corporate media at the death of a strapping young man on the cusp of adulthood.
It’s hard to imagine because it doesn’t happen.
Pictures shared of Weber in the aftermath show an eager and happy father. His friends and family insist there was no gun because AJ didn’t own a gun. The suggestion that someone in the crowd around Weber’s lifeless body stole the gun is patently racist and should be met with the level of scrutiny deserved of any American citizen.
Why would somebody take the gun? What is the motif? To “hide” the evidence? To frame the cops? A free gun? No matter how you spin it, the idea just doesn’t add up and its very suggestion speaks volumes about the lack of training and accountability in our police forces. Officials originally refused comment on the timeline and evidence presented but by Thursday their statement had changed with the Sheriff acknowledging that Weber may not have had a gun at all.
Since the death of Anthony Weber, the Sheriff's Department has faced intense criticism from his family and others who insist he did not have a gun. https://t.co/5pFEdNpKhZ
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) February 9, 2018
For myself and many reading this article we wonder how this changes? We live in a flawed society that still judges people not on the merit of their character but on the dip in their waistband and the color of their skin. We live in a police state that asks questions later and uses their bias to inflict deadly force on American citizens. The contempt shown by the sheriff and his officers towards the community is par for the course. They see themselves as above reproach as infallible and far too often they are given a safe passage from serious questions and punishment.
AJ Weber was a father and a young man still on his way into adulthood. The 911 caller who effectively signed the death warrant of Weber could’ve been anyone. They could have been completely mistaken or they could have been someone with a vendetta towards Weber. We will never know the answer to that question because AJ Weber can no longer speak. AJ Weber can no longer provide for his baby child. AJ Weber is 6 feet under because two “officers of the peace” thought it better to shoot first & ask questions later. AJ Weber is dead because he was a black American.