Over the last month, tensions have been at an all-time high for police around the country. This past Monday, the scene outside the Nickerson Gardens housing project threatened to flair again as an 18-year-old black male was shot and killed by police. The housing project is a known place for gang members and has been the location for numerous shootings in recent years. As officers were patrolling the area Monday night around 11 PM, they noticed a group of people and stopped to investigate. As they began to interact with those that had congregated, one man began to run and turned to start shooting at police. One LAPD officer was shot in the arm and taken from the scene for treatment. Police returned fire and killed 18-year-old Richard Risher, who was found with a gun in close proximity to his body.
Tuesday morning brought new frustrations and fears to the residence and police as the investigation began. Police tried to calm tension and answers questions as a shout was heard from down the street. In the parking lot a crowd has gathered, surround a young man who had collapsed on the hot asphalt. Officers quickly jumped in and began clearing vomit from the man’s mouth before beginning CPR and mouth to mouth. Thought to be a drug overdose, officers took turns working to find a pulse before he was taken away by an ambulance.
The scene at Nickerson Garden shows the complexity of our police forces today. The incident the night before brought anger and tension that in a moment of aid and help was quickly forgotten, at least temporarily.