LOS ANGELES — Helen Jones grew up in Watts in a time of gang wars and a crack epidemic, when the police used battering rams to knock down the walls of suspected drug houses and Black people were routinely profiled or beaten by street cops. Then and now, her life has been shaped by violence: Last spring, after the city shut down to contain the coronavirus pandemic, her nephew was shot dead in his home; the year before, her brother was shot in the back on a South Los Angeles street and lived; and in 2009, her son died in a downtown jail in what the authorities called a suicide but she believes was a murder by sheriff's deputies. Last year, Ms. Jones's demands for fewer police officers and more investment in communities like hers became the demands of a movement — after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis shook the country, inspired the largest mass demonstrations for civil rights in generations and pushed police reform to the forefront of the national agenda. Now, a year after Mr. Floyd's death, Los Angeles and other American cities face a surge in violent crime amid pandemic despair and a flood… Read full this story
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