LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Rappers Snoop Dogg and The Game led a march to LAPD headquarters Friday morning, just as the police department held a graduation ceremony for its latest class of recruits.
The demonstration came just twelve hours after the killing of five Dallas police officers Thursday night by at least one sniper who staked out a police protest that arose after the killing of two men by officers this week, in Louisiana and Minnesota.
Snoop Dogg said the march was a peaceful demonstration, telling KNX 1070 that the event had not been scheduled to coincide with the graduation ceremony, but that he was grateful for the chance to speak with the newly minted officers. The 100-or-so demonstrators watched the graduation ceremony peacefully from a distance.
"This is even better because now these students that are about to hit the streets can know that there is some sort of dialogue going on and they don't have to be fearful," Snoop Dogg said. "And they can do their jobs and know that when you stop somebody you're a conversation away from sending them home or taking them to jail, but the conversation is key."
Snoop Dogg said the idea behind the gathering was "not to bash the police but to come up here and get some dialogue and some communication."
The march was organized early Friday morning, as word quickly spread from The Game's Instagram, and the hashtags #HUNT #HATEUSNOTTODAY #HUNTUSNOTTODAY became widely disseminated.
Speaking to media during the demonstration, Snoop Dogg critiqued the LAPD, saying officers are often sent into gang-plagued neighborhoods straight out of the academy.
"They're scared, they're nervous, and when they encounter someone, they automatically feel they must use violence as opposed to communication," he said.
By comparison, Snoop Dogg said, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department does a better job of training its deputies for work on the streets, because they generally begin by working in the county jail.
The rappers then held a meeting with Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck that Garcetti later said was "extraordinarily powerful."
The rappers later joined the officials onstage at a news conference at LAPD headquarters in which Chief Beck pleaded for a deescalation of violence in Los Angeles.
"It's time to put down our arms and start the dialogue," Beck said.
"If you are a human being and you have ears and eyes to see, this is a day of change," The Game said during the news conference. "I think that we need to take responsibility as a human race and accept
the role as peace-givers and people that distribute love and change throughout this city," he said, adding that he believes Los Angeles can be a "flagship" for cities everywhere, and a showing of peace and unity here will resonate around the world.
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