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Members of Black Lives Matter-LA along with community members directly impacted held a press conference to demand answers and full reparations due to blatant disregard of life and property by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in their callous and de

Black Lives Matter Los Angeles activists demand answers and full reparations due to blatant disregard of life and property by the LAPD in their callous and deliberate actions on June 30th resulting in severe bodily injuries, destruction of property, and immense trauma caused by the detonation of fireworks in the middle of a neighborhood. | Source: Al Seib / Getty

Families and individuals who were forced from their homes after the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) conducted a botched explosion of fireworks that destroyed homes are now facing the prospects of eviction from the city-owned hotel where they’ve been staying.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the City Council has moved to uproot the families from the luxury hotel where they’ve been staying at the city’s expense since the reckless actions of the LAPD in 2021.

City Councilman Curren Price suggested that families displaced from a working-class community of color may be “kind of gaming the system a little bit” instead of finding permanent housing.

“They’ve had it good living in the hotel rent-free for several months,” Price added. “They want that to last as long as it can.”

In the immediate aftermath of the explosion, Price said the families have had to endure a “reprehensible and unconscionable” situation.

The families are using a total of 20 rooms in the Level Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. At its height, 89 people displaced by the explosion were living there.

Seemingly missing from the discussion is any mention of the devastating effects of the blast, which have been attributed to the death of Auzie Houchins, an elderly Black man.

Houchins had diabetes, and heart attack was listed among the causes of his death. But his stepdaughter suggested that the blast and its aftermath strained Houchins’ health, including being removed from his childhood home and being placed into a hotel without even a kitchen. 

“I can’t say that the blast contributed to his death,” Marie Staples told KTLA at the time.  “But I can certainly say that since he was uprooted from the blast and then went over there, he just was not the same. He was born in that house.”  

On June 30, 2021, members of LAPD’s bomb squad attempted to detonate a cache of illegal fireworks but miscalculated the overall weight of the explosives. The explosives exceeded nearly twice the capacity of the containment truck leading to massive damage.  

Officers attempted to evacuate the community but missed people who did not answer the door. They also never communicated with the local city council office to notify them of the proposed detonation.

Dozens of residents were left homeless. However, police have maintained they are not to blame for any deaths following the blast.

In the meantime, the displaced families staying in the hotel have been given a deadline of March 31 to vacate the premises.

One man told the LA Times that his home was already paid off before it was destroyed, leaving him with few options.

“We’re exactly how we started,” Hilario Velasquez told the Times. “Without a place to go.”

This is America.


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