CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

LA Council Tries to Paa a 40 Hour Homicide Ban

From Los Angeles City Council members -- who in the past have tried with mixed results to ban gas-powered leaf blowers from backyards, lap dances from strip clubs and fast food restaurants from South Los Angeles -- plan to vote today on a 40-hour moratorium on homicide, a symbolic gesture that comes as the city has seen an uptick in killings in recent months.

If it passes, the ban would begin on Friday at 6:01 p.m. to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.

The ban, which would also apply to other forms of violence, was proposed by Los Angeles author and political commentator Earl Ofari Hutchinson, who was so alarmed by the city's recent spike in gun violence that he urged its elected leaders to make a bold statement.

"It's an educational vehicle to drive home the point that we're losing too many lives," said Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable. "If this works, then the next logical thing is: if a city like Los Angeles can go 40 hours without one homicide, then why not 40 days?"

Hutchinson hopes the nonbinding resolution will also secure the backing of the Los Angeles Unified School District board of education, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the state legislature. Still, some say the council should focus on more substantive solutions to the city's homicide rate -- and not waste time on symbolic gestures.

"I'm sure that the people who are doing the killing will hear that the council is calling for a moratorium and then cease and desist," said a sarcastic Joe Hicks, who once served as executive director of the city's Human Relations Commission. "It's more silliness from our wonderful City Council."

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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