The Latino Experience

The Latino Experience

Start watching
Professor T

Professor T (UK)

Start watching
SoCal Update

SoCal Update

Start watching
Us

Us

Start watching
Key Art of "Summer of Rockets" featuring Keeley Hawes and Toby Stephens.

Summer of Rockets

Start watching
Line of Separation Key Art.

Line of Separation

Start watching
Artbound

Artbound

Start watching
Death in Paradise Series 10

Death in Paradise

Start watching
millionaire still

KCET Must See Movies

Start watching
Independent Lens

Independent Lens

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
Earth Focus

Earth Focus

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

In Plain Sight: Photographic Recordings of Police Violence (Koreatown/Westlake)

856 Vermont | Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin (primary)
Support Provided By
New Hampshire Avenue near 3rd Street
New Hampshire Avenue near 3rd Street. |  Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin

This photo essay is one in a series titled "In Plain Sight: Photographic Recordings of Police Violence" by Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin.

The Koreatown/Westlake section of Los Angeles is home to a diverse intersection of cultures. In this part of the city lies a history of police-involved investigations, including the infamous LAPD Rampart Division corruption scandal of the late 1990s. This photo essay includes the Rampart police station as well as several other sites of violence where residents have reportedly died at the hands of officers.

The Rampart police scandal was centered on the activities of the Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums (CRASH) gang unit. A documented incident of corruption, in this case, involved police officers who framed an unarmed man for murder, but there were many other incidents as well. A major (though less publicized) component of the scandal was the beating, and subsequent cover-up of it, of a suspect while he was being detained at the Rampart station.

New Hampshire Avenue near 3rd Street by Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin
New Hampshire Avenue near 3rd Street. | Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin

Acts of police violence in Koreatown are not limited to the Rampart scandal. Between 2008 and 2010, two unarmed men were shot and killed by the police. The investigations that followed determined that the police department was at fault in both cases, as neither man was armed or posed any threat to the responding officers. The two incidents received some scant local coverage in comparison to the current wave of attention that the subject of police violence has received. These relatively unknown cases speak to the fact that police violence against men of color is not a new phenomenon, nor is it limited to a certain part of the city.

Dontaze Storey Jr. was shot and killed by a Rampart Division police officer in front of his pregnant girlfriend on the corner of 3rd Street and New Hampshire. The police said they thought he had a weapon initially but multiple witnesses confirmed that he had nothing in his hand when he was killed. A wrongful death case was later settled with the mother of his then unborn child.

Roughly two years later, an unarmed man with learning disabilities named Steven Washington was shot and killed while walking down Vermont Boulevard. No weapon was present but officers shot him because they deemed him unresponsive to verbal commands. The shooting sparked immediate criticism from Washington’s family. The department initially concluded that the shooting was justified but that was eventually overruled by an independent civilian oversight commission.

The pace of life in a place as populated as Koreatown and Westlake can be daunting. Because of this dynamic, it can be easy for some to forget (or ignore) the long history of police violence in this community. Just as in other areas of L.A., this bustling urban landscape continues to be in a state of redevelopment so documenting its spaces before they disappear is of critical significance.

856 S. Vermont Avenue by Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin
856 S. Vermont Ave. | Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin
7th Street east of Westmoreland Avenue
7th Street east of Westmoreland Avenue. |  Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin
Vermont Avenue just north of Wilshire Blvd by Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin
Vermont Avenue just north of Wilshire Boulevard. | Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin
Corner of Temple Street & Benton Way
Rampart Station at corner of Temple Street and Benton Way. |  Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin
 2710 W. Temple Street
2710 W. Temple St.  |  Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin

Like this story? Sign up for our newsletter to get unique arts & culture stories and videos from across Southern California in your inbox. Also, follow Artbound on FacebookTwitter, and Youtube.

Support Provided By
Read More
Lucha libre posters are stacked on top of each other.

Republic of Lucha Provides a Haven for Lucha Libre Culture in L.A.

Republic of Lucha, besides being awesome, is a new space in South Pasadena dedicated to the world of lucha libre, the freestyle form of wrestling made famous in Mexico.
A triptych of people who attend a weekly gathering of Queer creative folk called Mustache Mondays.

Mustache Mondays: Documentary Wants Your Photos of L.A. Gay Nightlife in the 2000s

Do you have photos or mementos of Mustache Mondays or gay nightlife in the 2000s? Share them with "Artbound" and help tell the story of Mustache Mondays' pivotal role in the lives of a generation of Queer cultural producers.
Artist Barbara Carrasco standing in front of colorful floor-to-wall length mural "L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective" holding a commendation plaque from Los Angeles County presented by County Supervisor Hilda Solis at the opening of the temporary exhibition Sin Censura A.

After 40-Plus Years, Barbara Carrasco's Censored Mural Finds a Permanent Home

After 40 years, Barbara Carrasco's epic (and censored) 1981 mural "L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective" finds a home where its stories can be told.