LAPD Issues Warning on July 4th Fireworks 2 Years After Incident Involving Illegal Pyrotechnics
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has urged residents to avoid illegal fireworks displays and opt for safe, organized events. The tweet has been met with criticism due to the LAPD's own history of causing an explosion from fireworks, which resulted in two deaths and significant damage to homes and businesses. The explosion occurred when members of the LAPD's bomb squad attempted to detonate illegal fireworks but miscalculated the weight of the explosives. The incident highlights the department's controversial past and raises questions about its credibility in promoting safety.
As the Fourth of July approaches, the United States is gearing up for a season of fireworks displays to celebrate the nation's independence. However, a recent tweet from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) urging caution and safety with fireworks may be met with skepticism, considering the department's own history.
The LAPD took to Twitter over the weekend to remind residents that possessing fireworks is illegal in Los Angeles. The department cited the safety of "neighbors" as a reason to opt for safe, organized displays instead. The tweet emphasized the disruption to children's sleep and the sense of security caused by sudden bangs and flashes.
Ironically, the LAPD may have been referencing itself with this warning. In the summer of 2021, members of the LAPD's bomb squad attempted to detonate a cache of illegal fireworks in a working-class residential community of color. However, they miscalculated the weight of the explosives, leading to a massive explosion that caused significant damage.
The explosion resulted in at least two deaths, including that of an elderly Black man. Auzie Houchins and Ramon Reyes died after the blast, with their families and community members suggesting that the explosion's aftermath and their displacement from their homes worsened their health conditions and ultimately led to their deaths.
Houchins, who had diabetes, suffered a heart attack, which was listed as one of the causes of his death. His stepdaughter noted that the blast and its aftermath strained his health, especially as he was relocated to a hotel room without a kitchen. Reyes was injured when his roof collapsed during the explosion.
While the LAPD attempted to evacuate the community before the blast, they missed some residents who did not answer their doors. Additionally, the department failed to communicate with the local city council office about the planned detonation.
In a cruel twist, the displaced residents faced eviction from the city-owned hotel where they had been staying. City Councilman Curren Price suggested that the families were "gaming the system" instead of seeking permanent housing, despite previously condemning the explosion and its impact on the victims.
At its peak, 89 people displaced by the explosion were living in the Level Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
This recent warning from the LAPD about fireworks safety may ring hollow for some, given the department's own mishandling of illegal pyrotechnics in a community of color. The incident serves as a reminder of the need for caution and responsible handling of fireworks, as well as the importance of holding law enforcement accountable for their actions.