Beron Thompkins remembers his first encounter with the Los Angeles Police Department when he was a 12-year-old. He and his 14-year-old cousin were walking down the street in their South L.A. neighborhood when two policemen driving by asked them to pull up their shirts.
“We were minding our own business. They didn’t ask us where we were going and they didn’t tell us to stop,” Thompkins said. “My cousin said, ‘Ignore them.’ So, we kept walking.”
Thompkins said the police then sped up, swerved in front of them, and threw them onto the hood. The police told them that they had received a call that two black men had just robbed a lady in a nearby park.