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Why is the LAPD Targeting Nipsey Hussle's Marathon Store and Shopping Center?

By Kiani Belgrave

It appears that the late Nipsey Hussle’s street corner and his The Marathon Clothing store was under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department before the rapper’s untimely death in 2019. According to the Guardian, the shopping center where the emcee’s clothing store lived had been labeled a “hot spot” for crime and gang activity, prompting them to send special patrols that stopped and questioned the people of that area. 

Nipsey Hussle became a well-respected figure in his home community of Crenshaw, Los Angeles, as he spent years building and investing in projects in the area to better his city before he was shot and killed on  March 31, 2019. The city has mourned the death of the artist, entrepreneur, and community activist while LA law enforcement quietly targeted his businesses with criminal investigations for gang activity. 

It has been reported that the investigations on Hussle’s Marathon store and surrounding areas are a part of LAPD’s Operation Laser (an acronym for Los Angeles Strategic Extraction and Restoration), an investigation program aimed to prevent crime and “restore peace” in the community.

Launched in 2011, the program aimed to use data to identify “chronic offenders” and specific locations linked to gun violence and gangs in an effort to “extract” criminal activity from communities. Many critics and Crenshaw locals feel the operation is ineffective and biased, leaning on racial profiling and the harassment of black and brown communities, calling Operation Laser “inconsistent” as it targets Black and Latino communities.  

“It seems like they were stopping anybody for any infraction that day,” public defender Cliff Dorse told the Guardian. Dorsey, a South Central native, said he wasn’t familiar with Operation Laser, but that it aligned with the experiences of people in his neighborhood where LAPD gang operations rely on “guilt by association.”

Hussle’s brother Samiel Asghedom says he and Nipsey worked hard to make the corner of Crenshaw and Slauson a positive force in the neighborhood and suggested the shops had helped reduce crime in the neighborhood, not encourage it. Saying their landlord supported them, “He was making money. We were making improvements to the lot. He tried to voice that to the police, and they didn’t give a fuck about none of it. They said, ‘We’re trying to label this as a city ‘nuisance,’ and if you don’t sever their lease, we’re going to seize the lot from you.’”

“Nip wanted to stay in the area and inspire the youth, and we want people to know this is something that Nip bought, knowing where Nip started and where Nip took it to,” said Asghedom.

What do you think about the investigation of Nipsey Hussle’s The Marathon Store? Stay tuned for more on this and other hip-hop news.