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|3/4: BLACK IMMIGRANT AND AFRICAN AMERICAN LEADERS MOURN THE LOSS OF “BROTHER AFRICA”
Released 28 March 2015  By Opal Tometi-Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)
BLACK IMMIGRANT AND AFRICAN AMERICAN LEADERS MOURN THE LOSS OF “BROTHER AFRICA” CONDEMN THE BRUTAL KILLING OF CAMEROONIAN IMMIGRANT AT THE HANDS OF LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT
BROOKLYN, NY– The Black Alliance for Just Immigration – BAJI – expresses grief and outrage at the senseless killing of Charley “Brother Africa” Leundeu Keunang, a 43 year old Cameroonian immigrant living on Skid Row, an area of downtown Los Angeles, CA known for its large homeless population. On Sunday March 1, “Brother Africa” was unarmed when confronted by Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers, who tased him several times, then opened fire while physically restraining him, shooting him 5 times. This is reportedly the third such incident in Skid Row since the 2006 launch of the LAPD “Safer Cities” Initiative, a special police unit designed to reduce crime on Skid Row. This horrific brutality is just the latest example of the crisis of state violence in Black communities, resulting in the death of our brothers and sisters at a rate of every 28 hours. BAJI declares once again that ALL Black Lives Matter, immigrant, homeless, incarcerated and beyond. Our hearts go out to those mourning for Brother Africa.
Brother Africa’s death brings into focus the convergence of state violence in the lives of Black people, and particularly the implications for Black immigrants. Brother Africa was recently released from federal prison, where he was assigned to a mental health unit by medical staff that determined he was suffering from “a mental disease or defect” that required treatment in a psychiatric hospital, which he never received. Disenfranchised of his visa status, Brother Africa was then detained by ICE until he was ordered to be released, as he was not deportable. Without mental health treatment and undocumented, Brother Africa was forced to life on Skid Row, where the police initiatives purported to make his neighborhood safer, ultimately killed him.
As an organization working at the intersections of racial justice and migrant rights, BAJI re-asserts that The Real Crime is the overpolicing of Black communities and vows that we will honor Brother Africa by continuing to expose the violence of systemic racism, organize Black communities and build coalitions for resistance.
Executive Director, Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)
Office: (347) 410-5312
Cell: (602) 349-1073
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