Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, USA TODAY, AND CHICAGO TRIBUNE • A masterly work of literary journalism about a senseless murder, a relentless detective, and the great plague of homicide in America

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe  The Economist • The Globe and Mail  BookPage  Kirkus Reviews

On a warm spring evening in South Los Angeles, a young man is shot and killed on a sidewalk minutes away from his home, one of the thousands of black Americans murdered that year. His assailant runs down the street, jumps into an SUV, and vanishes, hoping to join the scores of killers in American cities who are never arrested for their crimes.

But as soon as the case is assigned to Detective John Skaggs, the odds shift.

Here is the kaleidoscopic story of the quintessential, but mostly ignored, American murder—a “ghettoside” killing, one young black man slaying another—and a brilliant and driven cadre of detectives whose creed is to pursue justice for forgotten victims at all costs. Ghettoside is a fast-paced narrative of a devastating crime, an intimate portrait of detectives and a community bonded in tragedy, and a surprising new lens into the great subject of why murder happens in our cities—and how the epidemic of killings might yet be stopped.

Praise for Ghettoside

“A serious and kaleidoscopic achievement . . . [Jill Leovy is] a crisp writer with a crisp mind and the ability to boil entire skies of information into hard journalistic rain.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Masterful . . . gritty reporting that matches the police work behind it.”Los Angeles Times

“Moving and engrossing.”San Francisco Chronicle

“Penetrating and heartbreaking . . . Ghettoside points out how relatively little America has cared even as recently as the last decade about the value of young black men’s lives.”USA Today

“Functions both as a snappy police procedural and—more significantly—as a searing indictment of legal neglect . . . Leovy’s powerful testimony demands respectful attention.”The Boston Globe

“Gritty, heart-wrenching . . . Everyone needs to read this book.”—Michael Connelly

Ghettoside is remarkable: a deep anatomy of lawlessness.”—Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal

“[Leovy writes] with grace and artistry, and controlled—but bone-deep—outrage in her new book. . . . The most important book about urban violence in a generation.”The Washington Post

“Riveting . . . This timely book could not be more important.”—Associated Press

“Leovy’s relentless reporting has produced a book packed with valuable, hard-won insights—and it serves as a crucial, 366-page reminder that ‘black lives matter.’ ”The New York Times Book Review

“A compelling analysis of the factors behind the epidemic of black-on-black homicide . . . an important book, which deserves a wide audience.”—Hari Kunzru, The Guardian

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780449009710
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/27/2015
Edition description: Unabridged
Pages: 11
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jill Leovy is an award-winning reporter and editor for the Los Angeles Times.

Read an Excerpt

1

A Killing

It was a warm Friday evening in Los Angeles, about a month before Dovon Harris was murdered.

Sea breezes rattle the dry palm trees in this part of town. It was about 6:15 p.m., a time when homeowners turn on sprinklers, filling the air with a watery hiss. The springtime sun had not yet set; it hovered about 30 degrees above the horizon, a white dime-­sized disk in a blinding sky.

Two young black men walked down West Eightieth Street at the western edge of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Seventy-­seventh Street precinct area, a few miles away from where Dovon Harris lived. One was tall with light brown skin, the other shorter, slight and dark.

The shorter of the two young men, Walter Lee Bridges, was in his late teens. He was wiry and fit. His neck was tattooed and his face wore the mournful, jumpy look common to young men in South Central who have known danger. His low walk and light build suggested he could move like lightning if he had to.

His companion, wearing a baseball cap and pushing a bicycle, appeared more relaxed, more oblivious. Bryant Tennelle was eighteen years old. He was tall and slim, with a smooth caramel complexion and what was called “good hair,” smooth and wavy. His eyes tilted down a little at the corners, giving his face a gentle puppy look. The two young men were neighbors who whiled away hours together tinkering with bicycles.

They were strolling on the south side of Eightieth. Bryant carried in one hand an unopened A&W root beer he had just bought. Thirties-­era Spanish-­style houses—­updated with vinyl windows—­lined the street, set back a few feet from the sidewalk. Each had a tiny lawn mowed so short it seemed to blend with the pavement. Buses roared by on Western Avenue. Crows squawked and planes whistled overhead as they descended into Los Angeles International Airport, so close you could read the logos on their tails. Groups of teenagers loitered at each end of the street. An elegant magnolia loomed near the end of the block, and across the street hunched a thick overgrown Modesto ash.

The ash tree stood in front of a tidy corner house. Behind that house, in the backyard on the other side of the fence, a man named Calvin Abbot was cleaning out a tile cutter. He had just retiled his mother’s bathroom.

Walter and Bryant were taking their time walking down Eightieth, chatting, their long shadows stretching behind them. They walked in sunshine, though dusk engulfed the other side of the street. Three friends emerged from a house at the end of the block behind them and called out a greeting. Walter stopped and turned to yell something back. Bryant kept walking toward the ash. A black Chevrolet Suburban pulled up to the curb around the corner, on the cross street, St. Andrews. A door opened and a young man jumped out. He pulled on gloves, ran a few steps, and halted under the tree, holding a gloved hand straight out gripping a firearm. Pap. Pap-­pap.

Walter reacted instantly. He saw the muzzle flashes, saw the gunman—­white T-shirt, dark complexion, gloves—­even as he sprinted. Calvin Abbot, toiling with his tile cutter behind the fence, couldn’t see the shooter. But he heard the blasts and dropped instinctively. Abbot, forty, had grown up a black man in South Central and had the same battle-­ready reflexes as Walter. He lay flat on the ground as gunfire boomed in his ears.

Bryant’s reflexes were slower. Or perhaps it was because he was looking straight into the setting sun. To him, the gunman was a dark silhouette. Bryant staggered, then reeled and fell on a patch of lawn overhung by a bird-­of-­paradise bush. Silence. Abbot drew himself to his feet, crept to the fence, and peeked over.

The shooter stood a few feet away, next to the ash tree on the other side of the fence.

He was still holding the gun. Abbot watched as he walked a few paces, then broke into a run: there must be a getaway car nearby. Abbot made a brave decision: he followed the shooter, watched him jump back into the Suburban, and tried to read the license plate as it sped away. He turned and saw Bryant lying on the grass.

Teenagers were converging from three directions. One young man dropped to his knees next to Bryant. Joshua Henry was a close friend. He took Bryant’s hand and gripped it. With relief, he felt Bryant squeeze back. “I’m tired, I’m tired,” Bryant told him. He wanted to sleep. Josh could see only a little blood on his head. Just a graze, he thought. Then Bryant turned his head. A quarter of his skull had been ripped away.

Josh stared at the wound. Only then did his eyes register Bryant’s cap, lying on the ground nearby, full of blood and tissue. He heard his own voice chattering cheerfully to Bryant, telling him he would be okay.

Standing over them, Abbot was pleading with a 911 dispatcher on the phone, straining to keep the details straight as his eyes took in the scene. “Eightieth and Saint Andrews!” He took a breath and muttered hoarsely: “Oh my god.”

Abbot put away the phone. He turned Bryant over. He administered CPR. All around him, teenagers were screaming. Someone thrust a towel at him. Abbot tried to blot it against Bryant’s shattered head, wondering what he was supposed to do. Bryant vomited. His mouth was filled with blood. Abbot, too, found himself staring at the brain matter—­flecks of gray and yellow. Yellow? With one part of his mind Abbot recorded his own bewilderment: Why was it yellow? With another part, he fought to stay calm.

One thought kept crowding out the others: Please don’t let this kid die.

“Ambulance shooting.”

Officer Greg De la Rosa, P-3, LAPD Seventy-­seventh Street Division, was cruising around Fifty-­fourth Street at the north end of the station area when his radio buzzed.

“Ambulance shooting” was the generic way most South L.A. murders and attempted murders came to the attention of police over their radios. In the three station areas that encompassed most of South Los Angeles—­the Seventy-­seventh Street Division, Southwest Division, and Southeast Division—­such calls, at least in this year, came more than once a day, on average.

The location of the shooting was almost thirty blocks south from where he was. De la Rosa went “Code 3,” lights flashing, down Western Avenue, and got there first. It was warm, and still light.

He took in the scene. A chrome BMX bike down on the sidewalk. A baseball cap. A victim on the lawn. Male black. Late teens. Medium complexion. De la Rosa was on autopilot, filling out the police report in his head. He had been called to so many shootings just like this one. So many “male black,” he could barely distinguish one from another. De la Rosa pondered the bike, cap, and victim, arranged in a straight line on the sidewalk and grass. The young man must have dropped the bike and run for the shelter of a porch, De la Rosa thought. A few more steps and he would have made it.

De la Rosa had grown up in an English-­speaking family of Mexican descent in mostly Hispanic Panorama City, a rough patch of the San Fernando Valley, and was Los Angeles to the core: his great-­grandfather had been evicted from Chavez Ravine when they built Dodger Stadium. He was also an Army veteran. He was still unprepared for what he found when he was assigned to the Seventy-seventh a dozen years before. The station area lay between Watts and Inglewood and spanned the heart of what many locals still called South Central, though the name was officially changed to South Los Angeles in 2003 to erase its supposed stigma. But people on the streets didn’t use the new name much, nor the polite new city designations for its various sections—­“Vermont Knolls,” for instance. Instead, people said “eastside” and “westside” to denote the old race-­restrictive covenant boundary along Main Street, and retained South Central for the whole. Florence and Normandie, the intersection where the 1992 riots broke out, was in the Seventy-­seventh Street Division, near where De la Rosa now stood.

Over time, De la Rosa had grown used to the texture of life here, but it still baffled him. In Seventy-­seventh, everyone seemed to be related somehow. Rumors traveled at lightning speed. Sometimes it seemed that you couldn’t slap handcuffs on anyone in the division without their relatives instantly pouring out of their houses, hollering at the police. De la Rosa’s old home of Panorama City was also poor, but it didn’t have the same homicide problem, the same resentment of police. He found that he avoided talking to outsiders about his job. He didn’t want to waste his breath on people who didn’t know what Seventy-­seventh was like and wouldn’t understand even if he tried to explain it.

The tasks he walked through that evening were so familiar they were almost muscle memory: Secure the perimeter. Secure witnesses. Hold the scene for detectives. Get out the field interview cards. And get ready: onlookers would soon swarm them, asking questions.

De la Rosa remembered these “ambulance shootings” only if something exceptional occurred. Like the time he had been called to Florence and Broadway, right in front of Louisiana Fried Chicken. The victim, an older black man, had a small hole in his skin, the kind that often hides severe internal bleeding. “Get the fuck away from me!” the wounded man had snarled. De la Rosa tried to help him anyway. The man fought. In the end, De la Rosa and his fellow officers tackled him, four cops piling on, a team takedown of a possibly mortally wounded shooting victim. Even in the midst of the chaos, De la Rosa registered the absurdity, the black humor, so typical of life in the Seventy-­seventh.

Black humor helped. But it still got to him—­the attitude of black residents down here. They were shooting each other but still seemed to think the police were the problem. “Po-­Po,” they sneered. Once, De la Rosa had to stand guard over the body of a black man until paramedics arrived. An angry crowd closed in on him, accusing him of disrespecting the murdered man’s body. Some of them tried to drag the corpse away. The police used an official term for this occasional hazard: “lynching.” Some felt uncomfortable saying it. They associated the word with the noose, not the mobs that once yanked people from police to kill or rescue them. De la Rosa held back the crowd. “You don’t care because he’s a black man!” someone yelled. De la Rosa was stunned. Why did they think race was a part of this? Sometimes, in Seventy-­seventh, De la Rosa had the sense that he was no longer in America. As if he had pulled off the freeway into another world.

That May night unfolded in the midst of an unexceptional period of violence in the traditionally black neighborhoods of South Los Angeles County. All across the ten square miles that stretched from Slauson Avenue to the north end of Long Beach, black men were shot and stabbed every few days.

About a month before Bryant Tennelle was shot on May 11, 2007, Fabian Cooper, twenty-­one, was shot to death leaving a party in Athens. With him was his neighbor and lifelong friend Salvador Arredondo, nineteen, a young Hispanic man, who was also killed.

A week later, on April 15, twenty-­two-­year-­old Mark Webster walked out of a biker club on Fifty-­fourth Street near Second Avenue and was shot by someone who opened fire from a distance. It seems unlikely that the attacker knew who he was.

That same night, some black men caught up with Marquise Alexander, also twenty-­two, at a Shell gas station at the nearby intersection of Crenshaw and Slauson avenues and shot him dead. Four days later, on April 19, forty-­one-­year-­old Maurice Hill was hanging out in his usual spot in front of a liquor store at Sixty-­fourth and Vermont Avenue at about 10:30 p.m. when a black gunman killed him; Hill, who had lived in the area all his life, spent most of his time sitting in a grassy median on Vermont Avenue drinking beer. The same day Hill died, Isaac Tobias, twenty-­three, succumbed to his wounds at St. Francis Hospital in Lynwood, where he lingered for several days after being shot during an argument with two other black men near 120th Street and Willowbrook Avenue.

Three days later, in North Long Beach, Eric Mandeville, twenty, was shot and killed while walking outside, almost certainly targeted by black gang members because he was young, black, male, and looked like one of their rivals. Mandeville was a McDonald’s employee, clean-­cut and well liked, a former foster child who had overcome a difficult childhood. Hours after his death, Alfred Henderson, forty-­seven, was killed nearby. The next day, on April 23, eighteen-­year-­old Kenneth Frison died at California Hospital after lingering on life support for three weeks. He had been shot in the head at the corner of Ninety-­fourth Street and Gramercy on April 1. Four days after Frison’s death, Wilbert Jackson, sixteen, was sprayed by a lethal volley of bullets from a passing car as he stood in front of a fish store on Figueroa Avenue south of Fifty-­first Street. Early the next day, April 28, thirty-­four-­year-­old Robert Hunter was attending the funeral at Missionary Baptist Church on Adams Boulevard for his cousin—­Isaac Tobias, the young murder victim mentioned above. An argument broke out at the church; Hunter was shot dead and two other mourners were wounded. Later that same day, Ralph Hope, twenty-­eight, was shot and killed in Inglewood.

Table of Contents

Part I The Plaque

1 A Circle of Grief 3

2 A Killing 13

3 Ghettoside 22

4 School of Catastrophe 28

5 Clearance 44

6 The Circumstantial Case 52

7 Good People and Knuckleheads 61

8 Witnesses and the Shadow System 74

9 The Notification 86

Part II The Case of Bryant Tennelle

10 Son of the City 99

11 "It's My Son" 112

12 The Killing of Dovon Harris 123

13 Nothing Worse 131

14 The Assignment 139

15 "Everybody Know" 162

16 The Witness 176

17 Baby Man 189

18 Mutual Combat 214

19 Witness Welfare 223

20 Lost Souls 240

21 The Victims' Side 256

22 The Opening 274

23 "We Have to Pray for Peace" 286

24 The Missing 304

Epilogue 311

Author's Note 321

Acknowledgments 325

Notes 327

Select Bibliography 353

Index 357

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Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
BrandieC More than 1 year ago
As a lawyer with a degree in criminology, I have read my fair share of books attempting to explain violence, gang culture, and the very real fact that black men, predominantly in poor urban neighborhoods, are far more likely than other segments of the population to die from homicide; as Jill Leovy states in her fascinating book Ghettoside, they are only 6% of the American population but account for almost 40% of the murder victims. Leovy's book is particularly timely in light of the recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the slogan "Black Lives Matter." Regardless of what one thinks with respect to those two cases, they highlighted a question which has plagued many white observers: instead of rioting over isolated instances of white-on-black killing, why aren't black leaders giving more attention to the far higher prevalence of black-on-black violence? Leovy notes that any such emphasis on high rates of black criminality risk the speaker being charged with racism, yet as black Harvard professor Randall Kennedy has stated, It does no good to pretend that blacks and whites are similarly situated with respect to either rates of perpetration or rates of victimization. They are not. The familiar dismal statistics and the countless tragedies behind them are not figments of some Negrophobe's imagination. Having put aside any question of white racism, Leovy becomes free to explore the real issue: the existence of a "shadow legal system," in competition with formal law, where violence substitutes for litigation. Crime of any type is deterred by swift and certain punishment; if the criminal justice system fails to respond quickly and vigorously to crime, to enforce the state monopoly on violence, other mechanisms will arise to take its place. Thus begins the vicious cycle: police understandably do not want to actively patrol high crime areas, where their own safety is in jeopardy, yet high crime areas exist precisely because of the absence of effective policing. This is the same dynamic seen in the context of teenage cyberbullying, a predominantly white phenomenon (see www.bullyingstatistics.org); no one wants to speak out against the bully, in fear of becoming the next target, so the bully proceeds (and often escalates) unchallenged. Leovy's choice of story is a wise one. She focuses on the murder of a black teenager, the son of a homicide detective, whose only "crime" was to wear the wrong color hat in the wrong neighborhood. Thus there are no grounds on which to arguably blame the victim, and Leovy is able to address the broader issues relating to allocation of police resources and the priorities of a legal system which prefers the quick and easy drug possession prosecution (referred to as a "proxy crime") to the expensive and time-consuming murder trial. Her arguments are both thought-provoking and accessible to the lay reader. Leovy's background is in journalism, and it shows in Ghettoside. Her prose is never dry; the reader is never allowed to forget the human dimension in favor of the sociological theory. I highly recommend Ghettoside to all Americans whose votes determine our criminal justice priorities in a time of limited resources. I received a free copy of Ghettoside through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
MIBookseller More than 1 year ago
This is a non-fiction book that reads like a novel, explains like a teacher, and is as thought provoking  as a philosopher.  Although it describes murder investigations in southern Los Angeles,  author Leovy writes it as much as a character study as a description of crime solving.   By the books final pages you will feel as close to the lead characters as you do to some  of your own friends and neighbors and you will find yourself sharing their emotions.  An exceptional book!  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about murder. Real murder! Not the stuff of the thrillers that I like to read. It is a superbly crafted book about gangs, black on black homicide, and dogged detective work. It is not a pretty story. But it is one that more Americans need to be aware of. The author blends the tragedy of young black men being killed in disproportionate numbers - many of them were teens - with some hope, as found in the investigative work of a few dedicated LAPD detectives and improving trends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I appreciated the objectivism of the author. She told a story of human tragedy from the perspective of those who are deeply involved and care.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a decent, but extremely frustrating book, and in the end I would not recommend it. Leovy seems to have gotten too close with the people she profiles. Page after page, we simultaneously hear about how cops and police departments fail to do their jobs, have terrible clearance rates, or display proper cultural sensitivities, and yet literally every single police officer or detective we meet (and prosecutors) is "one of the good ones," including detectives who seem thoroughly unremarkable at best. A similiar, thought not identical, issue exists with portrayals of the civilian characters: all are generally good people, caught up in events beyond their control (yes, there is even a prominent "hooker with a heart of gold" character), except for the ones we do not meet. In fact, the only flaw possessed by the "hood" characters is that they fail to trust the wonderful detectives we meet. The best way to get a positive portrayal by Leovy is to have allowed your name to be used in her book. After a while, this gets extremely frustrating - you know that every named character will be treated with absolute kid gloves. She also seems to use unflattering physical descriptions to mask this. All in all, it's a pass.
efm More than 1 year ago
True murder story's of being poor, black and living near gang violence in Los Angeles.
smg5775 More than 1 year ago
Putting names to the murdered young black men in LA she tells the story of one, a cop's son, and gives us more vignettes of others around the same time as his. She also takes us into the detectives' lives who are handed these murders and how they solve them. I liked this book. While there was a lot of statistics and history of what lead up to the high murder rates of young black men, she puts names to them. They are not statistics only. She shows what the detectives do and how invested they are to find their killers. There were times I cried as she talks about the Tennelle family and tells of funerals and the fears many of the young men have of not living to be 21. Though a few years old, it is still timely. Well worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Black men make up around 6% of America’s population yet they account for about 40% of the country’s annual homicide victims. Jill Leovy’s Ghettoside: A Story of Murder in America, documents a number of such murders which continue to plague the African American community in South Central LA in her effort to explain how and why “bullets seem to find their black targets in the “ethnically jumbled up” American cities and the supposedly color-blind America. Continue reading at http://wp.me/p2idcy-3y
MayaMA More than 1 year ago
I wrote this review as an advance reader. We are all thinking this January 2015 about relationship between the minority – in particular, black – communities and the police. Ghettoside by Los Angeles reporter, Jill Leovy, is a timely addition to the conversation. The homicide rate in Los Angeles, in Watts and in South Central in particular, consists of young black men killing other young black men. The clearance rate for these murders is very low. Because of the difficulties in finding witnesses willing to testify and a culture that put a low premium on their lives, many police resorted to arresting those they knew were guilty of murder but against whom they had insufficient evidence, of “proxy crimes.” These crimes included public drinking, possession of drugs, and parole violations. These arrests did get killers off the streets, but they were often viewed as harassment. Ghettoside is the story of two murders and of John Skaggs, the white police detective who solved both. Skaggs was the detective who actually cared and he and his partners preserved until both cases resulted in convictions. Leovy chose as victims the son of a black police detective and a tenth grader son of a single mother home health care worker. Neither were gang affiliated. One would expect effort to solve the case concerning a fellow police officer, but given the culture of the L.A. police at the time, not the other. Skaggs worked through police budget cuts and the lack of resources his entire career. He and his first partner and later those they trained cared. They cared about the families, the victims and the witnesses. They solved homicides. Leovy gives us a small glimpse into what makes Skaggs tick, but I never learned enough to understand why he was different, why he was driven to solve these crimes that few others cared about. The unfolding of the investigations reads like a mystery story. Some may get confused about the multiple characters, but I found it no more confusing than reading Ngaio Marsh or Agatha Christie. I did find that Leovy’s digressions into the roots of both black on black crime and white indifference distracting and, in the end, superficial. Leovy is not an historian or sociologist and the strength of this book is her reporting on the crimes and the investigations. She began a blog for the Los Angeles Times called the “Homicide Report” in 2007. The report chronicles every homicide in the city to the current day. Every city should have a similar blog. Ghettoside ends with a quote from William J. Stuntz. Stuntz was a Harvard Law School Professor who studied the criminal justice system and died much too young. “Poor black neighborhoods see too little of the kids of policing and criminal punishment that do the most good, and too much of the kinds that do the most harm.” This also sums up Ghettoside. I highly recommend this book.
Subway_Reader More than 1 year ago
The book about a senseless and horrifying street murder was engrossing, written with a fluid, seemingly effortless style. She has a gift for making people three-dimensional and taking an approach to a horrendous situation that sees all sides, non-judgmental and caring at the same time. She manages to capture the feel of the street, thankfully without falling into the knee-jerk ‘culture of poverty’ socio-babble. Her insight that a community of people who live a hardscrabble existence without legal control aside from blatant oppression will experience internecine violence is vital and illuminating, and documented in places like the Catholic ghettoes in Northern Ireland or the black townships under apartheid in South Africa. But in the end it’s hard to recommend the book, because what she doesn’t say is as important as what she does. She’s better at description than history. She doesn’t touch on LA’s huge loss of manufacturing jobs prior to the 1980s, and the effect that had in providing fertile ground for the gangs and the crack epidemic. It’s an unconvincing, and uncomfortable, assertion that street violence is, or was, disproportionate to the black community; I imagine many in the Hispanic communities who worked to keep their kids out of gangs would take issue with it. Long stretches of the book, often fascinating, are devoted to the dogged detectives who cracked this case and others, but by her own admission they’re the exceptions; the majority of detectives who give rote attention to black murders aren’t given nearly as much space. And her omission of the long-standing enmity between the police in Los Angeles and the African-American community is glaring. How could she not mention Rodney King? The Watts riots of 1965 were a rebellion against racist police violence. (Perhaps only Chicago rivaled LA for having a police force with a reputation for racist violence outside the South.) Her intent in Ghettoside was description of incidents of black-on-black violence, not history, but even so, the decades-long friction between the African-American community and the LAPD is necessary as background, and it’s missing here. It’s the kind of book that’s very hard to criticize, since she is such a gifted and dedicated writer with clear empathy for all parties. It’s so rare to read a book eager know what happens next and feel for the people in it, including people you might not normally care about. But you can easily come away from this book with the impression that what’s needed to stop the street violence is more policing by honest police, and in the era of glaring economic inequality, Ferguson and #blacklivesmatter that’s an extremely difficult position to accept. I would tell people to read this book in conjunction with The New Jim Crow, because she needs someone to put her gripping story in some perspective.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't understand the popularity of this book. I found it very difficult to read. The author lacked focus.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exceptional reporting on a subject that gets too little attention of the right kind.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought I was going to read a book about life in the Ghetto and murder stories, but this is a political book about inequality. Pass!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THAT IS A GOOD BOOK
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thissounds like a great book even thow im in 4th grade it still sounds like a great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looks like an irestig Iwant to read this book like real life stories