LOS ANGELES, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Minorities and civil rights leaders in Los Angeles have voiced their concern over the shooting death of two African Americans in Missouri and Los Angeles since August 9.
Karin Wang, Vice President of Asian Americans Advancing Justice -- Los Angeles, the largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in the U.S., told Xinhua Friday that minorities in the U.S. should make their voices heard to stop police racial profiling and violence as what happened in Missouri and Los Angeles.
Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teen was shot down by police in Ferguson, Missouri on Saturday, Aug. 9, and on Aug. 11, Ezell Ford, another young African American, was shot to death by police, just two days after Brown's.
According to narration from Ford's mother, the young man was lying on the ground and complying with officers when he was shot three times.
Ford is the 16th person to have been shot at by Los Angeles police this year, although in two cases shots were fired but did not injure anyone, according to Liliana Preciado, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
Also recently, Eric Garner, an unarmed man selling loose cigarettes, died of a prolonged chokehold by police in New York. People in Florida would remember 17-year-old Travon Martin, also an African American, who was shot to death by a reserve officer.
The death of Brown has roused racial tension and ignited riots, rallies, looting, protests, marches, public mourning and general unrest in Ferguson and protests as well in many other cities in the U.S.
According to Wang, Los Angeles is more diversified and the police have learned a lesson from the 1992 riots. Since then, police in different cities have reach-out programs to local communities to ease tension and seek mutual understanding between the law enforcement and the ethnic groups.
Although progress have been made, problems still remain. She mentioned that occasionally minorities still become targets of police violence and racial profiling because they do not speak good English, in many cases that will cause some misunderstandings.
"We like other ethnic groups are concerned about the police violence and misconduct. As a civil rights organization, we are worried that such things happen," said Wang.
She mentioned that Ford had mental illness and in the past years there have been several cases when African Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos were killed by police because they had mental illness or they did not speak good English to understand the police instructions.
Wang said African Americans are more vulnerable than other ethnic groups to be racially profiled by police, even African Americans like Ford and Brown were unarmed, police would think they were more dangerous and would be more likely to use force against them.
Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the Los Angeles Police Department's Newton Division on Friday afternoon to demand answers in the fatal shooting of Ezell Ford.
Some protesters shouted "Hands up, don't shoot" while others were holding signs which read "Stop Killer Cops."
Press reports said the family of Ezell Ford will file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the LAPD.
More protests are expected in many U.S. cities in the coming days.
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