Before we start our Public Comment period – I’d like to speak for a few moments about the arrest, last week, on Laurel Avenue. Then we will hear from members of the public and then from Captain Ramirez.
First, I’d like to acknowledge and recognize the pain and anguish of the families and friends of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean. Ms. LaTisha Nixon, Gemmel’s mother is here with us today.
When we spoke on the phone in August 2017, I promised, Ms. Nixon that I would do all I could, that all of us would, to be sure that justice would be served. There were no words of consolation then and still today there are no words of consolation that are sufficient. But, please know that I — and my colleagues on the City Council — have been seeking justice and we have been working to press the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s office for a full investigation and for answers. Every meeting and at times in between we have continuously asked for updates on this case and the progress towards justice. I’d like to acknowledge the Sheriff’s and the Department of Justice for listening to us and for looking deeper.
We all have a role to play in the pursuit of justice. While our particular roles as community leaders are not always visible as investigations unfold: we have pressed; we have pushed, and we will continue to persist until we have more answers than we have questions.
This takes all of us working together. Our community has often relied on activists to do the heavier lifting, in the time of AIDS, for LGBT rights, and this situation has been no different. I’d like to recognize the activists and advocates that have pushed our institutions to hold themselves accountable in the pursuit of justice. In particular, Jasmyne Cannick deserves a lot of recognition for her tireless commitment to shedding light on these tragedies. And to Jerome Kitchens who has also challenged us to keep our eyes on the ball.
To many people in our community, the past two-plus-years have seemed like far too long to wait for answers. Activists and advocates have worked to make sure all of us are vigilant. We did not take our eyes off the ball.
This investigation has already been a long road; in some ways, though, we are still at the beginning. There is a trial ahead with many more news stories to come. As a community, we must continue to examine ourselves and ask what we can do better.
I believe in the power of justice, its slow-turning wheels, that press only forward. And, it’s important that we continue to ask, and more importantly answer the hard questions. We can’t be the community we aspire to be if we don’t acknowledge that we must not shy away from important conversations about race, class, inequity, shame, addiction, and recovery. They are all factors in the pursuit of justice in this case.
As a Mayor and more importantly as a resident, I will keep taking action to make sure we’re always doing what we can in seeking justice. Surely, I should not have trouble, surely West Hollywood should not have trouble, in doing this.
To the activists and advocates, to the families and friends of Mr. Moore and Mr. Dean, and the victims who have bravely come forward, we see you, we heard you, and we’re with you. Thank you for making us all do better.